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While Blockbuster Video is disappearing the Blockbuster trade just showed up. Two big money contracts were just traded for each other, Prince Fielder for Ian Kinsler. The trade makes positional sense for both teams, Texas used Mitch Moreland at first base this season and they had three players for two infield spots. The trade helps them at first base while opening a spot for Jurickson Profar at second.

Detroit lose a first baseman and free up some cash. The rumour is that Miggy Cabrera will move over to first with Kinsler on second. But the big reason for this trade might be to free up some cash to re-sign Max Scherzer.

So what does this mean for the Jays? First Ian Kinsler is off the table, if the Jays were interested in him. Secondly, Max Scherzer might be off the market, if the Jays were interested in him. Then, do Texas have enough money left to chase Brian McCann or other big dollar catchers? With this trade Texas are likely out of the Mike Napoli free-agent bonanza. Finally, Omar Infante will not be heading back to Detroit, if the Jays are interested in him.

Are their other implications that I am missing?

Blockbuster Reappears; Fielder, Kinsler and Dollars | 280 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
ayjackson - Wednesday, November 20 2013 @ 09:39 PM EST (#280758) #
$30m going with Prince...So Texas gets Prince at 7/$138m and Detroit gets Kinsler at essentially 4/$92m.

Eephus - Wednesday, November 20 2013 @ 10:11 PM EST (#280759) #
I kinda like this trade for both teams. Texas is obviously taking the bigger risk, but unlike the Tigers they can actually DH Fielder more than 11 times a year (a useful idea, me thinks.) Even in an off-year the dude is still a dang-gunnit good hitter and their lineup is much scarier with him added into it.

The Tigers of course dump that contract, allowing them more financial freedom to resign some of their other key players, and also in the process pick up a pretty good player in Kinsler.

In ten years we may look upon this one as a boneheaded folly upon either of these teams, but for now it's just real exciting.

Richard S.S. - Wednesday, November 20 2013 @ 10:23 PM EST (#280760) #
If Miggy is at 1st Base next year, who plays 3rd Base for Detroit?
Brett Lawrie and a couple of relievers for a Starter?
CeeBee - Wednesday, November 20 2013 @ 10:29 PM EST (#280762) #
And who plays 3rd for the Jays?
Parker - Wednesday, November 20 2013 @ 10:34 PM EST (#280763) #
This should put a stop to the Bautista-for-Profar talk, anyway.

Detroit's not going to throw away any assets trading for a project like Lawrie when guys like Michael Young and Eric Chavez are available as free agents.
Ron - Wednesday, November 20 2013 @ 10:50 PM EST (#280764) #
Assuming the Braves are willing to pick up a large chunk of his contract, I wonder if Dan Uggla is an option at 2B. Uggla hit a buck seventy nine last season and his OPS was still better than Izturis. I would go for a Izturis + prospect for Uggla + 8-10 million type of trade. I don't see a lot of other trade targets at this position.
Parker - Wednesday, November 20 2013 @ 11:00 PM EST (#280765) #
Why would Atlanta want Izturis though? I'm not sure any team in MLB would even take him for free, unless the Jays sent $5M cash along with him. He was absymal both offensively and defensively in 2013, and he wasn't much better the year before. Anthopoulos overpaid for him assuming his 2012 was an off year, but it looks like he might just done at this point.
Ron - Wednesday, November 20 2013 @ 11:15 PM EST (#280766) #
I see Izturis as part of the price of being able to dump Uggla's contract. Both guys have 2 years left on their contract but Uggla makes 13 million a season while Izturis makes 3 million.
John Northey - Thursday, November 21 2013 @ 01:22 AM EST (#280767) #
Wow. Gotta love trades where there is a serious risk of looking bad for both teams.

After factoring in the cash as ayjackson lists we get...
Fielder: 7 years at $19.7 mil per year
Kinsler: 4 years at $23 mil per year

Kinsler obviously isn't worth anywhere near $23 mil a year.  105 OPS+ last year at age 31 (remember, 2B age very poorly) and his lifetime UZR/150 at 2B is 0.9 so he should be below average from here on out given normal aging patterns.  Kinsler has had one year worth (via FanGraphs) over $23 mil in his career (2011 at $33 mil) plus 2 others over $14 mil (2007/8).  Basically Detroit is writing off $10 mil a year with Kinsler at 2B. 

However, Fielder could be worse.  Valued at just $11.2 mil last year but over $20 the two years before.  Being worth $20 mil a year for a couple of years is reasonable but I'd bet on Texas eating well over $40 mil over the next 7 unless value per WAR goes way up or Fielder defies the odds.

FanGraphs likes it for Detroit - Tigers Exchange Albatross For Good Player, Get Even Better - and their argument makes sense but from a raw value POV it is possible for Fielder to make Detroit look bad, especially if Kinsler ages quickly.
Richard S.S. - Thursday, November 21 2013 @ 05:10 AM EST (#280768) #
People have been expecting Fielder and Kinsler to fall off sharply for years. I think I'll wait for it to happen in 3-4 years.

A.A. mentioned his trades are waiting on Free Agency signings and that his alternate plan is Free Agency, where everyone else is shopping?
Lugnut Fan - Thursday, November 21 2013 @ 07:21 AM EST (#280769) #

This is a good move for the Tigers.  It get's them out from under an impulsive, ill advised contract and the fact they are only sending $30 million to the Rangers is a miracle.  This move allows Cabrera to move to first which is a more natural position for him and is a defensive upgrade to Fielder at first.  As far as 3B for the Tigers, their top prospect, Nick Castellanos, was drafted as a third baseman and started his professional career there.  He hasn't manned the hot corner for two seasons as when Cabrera moved to 3B, they started tinkering with him in the outfield.  The financial savings the Tigers gain from this deal will allow them to address needs in LF and in the bullpen.  It also, as stated above, makes a Max Scherzer extension and a Miguel Cabrera extension extremely likely.

That being said, I'm not sure the Tigers start the season with Castellanos at 3B.  Again, he hasn't played there in two years and will need reps.  He also isn't the greatest defender at 3B.  It wouldn't shock me to see a move made to address that position as well with Castellanos potentially being dangled as trade bait with a Porcello or Fister. 

BlueJayWay - Thursday, November 21 2013 @ 07:50 AM EST (#280770) #
Great move for the Tigers, imo
John Northey - Thursday, November 21 2013 @ 08:43 AM EST (#280772) #
I think everyone at first things 'great for Tigers' but...
Given the dollars going from Detroit to Texas you see a spread of $46 million and 3 years.  That works out to $15.3 mil a year for the final 3 years of Fielders contract.  The question becomes in the next 4 years who will be more valuable...Fielder or Kinsler.  First thought is Kinsler but...
1) The past 2 years Kinsler has had his 2 lowest OPS figures
2) Second basemen are famous for collapsing quickly and Kinsler is entering his age 32 season
3) Kinsler missed 26 games last year, 59 in 2010, just twice has cracked 150
4) Fielder has missed one game in the past 5 years and 13 games in the past 8 years - very durable
5) Fielder is 2 years younger than Kinsler which is very, very big when projecting out
6) People talk about Fielder being big, but so is David Ortiz and many others who were limited to DH/1B.

It isn't hard to imagine Fielder being worth at least $10-15 mil for all 7 years.  It isn't hard to picture Kinsler falling apart before the next 4 are done as better players have had that happen.  Neither contract is a good one but the pile on about Fielder could easily backfire much like the comments on Fielder from Moneyball did.
Mike Green - Thursday, November 21 2013 @ 08:50 AM EST (#280773) #
If the money in the game overall is increasing at the rate that some have suggested, Fielder's contract may not turn out to be such an albatross.

I do like the deal better from Detroit's perspective, but I also think that Texas has improved itself in the short-term.  It's a nice match from a positional perspective.  The Rangers get to put Andrus and Profar out there for years.  The Tigers get to move Cabrera to first base; it's much more likely that he will be able to prolong his offensive greatness if he has less defensive responsibility.

Parker - Thursday, November 21 2013 @ 09:24 AM EST (#280774) #
I have to say I too like this trade for the Tigers. Is Fielder the David Wells of sluggers? Wells himself had an off-year at 33 (already four years senior to Fielder's "questionable" year) and a lot of people thought that was the beginning of the end for him, but he went on to post another ten years of average-to-above-average performance. I don't think this is going to be the case with Fielder.

Middle infielders tend not to age well, and I'm sure a big part of that is the toll that the defensive component puts on them, but I think another key factor is that most middle infielders aren't that strong in the "old man skills" that decay slower and let players stick around past their primes. Kinsler's kind of a weird case though, as it looks like the past couple seasons he's traded some pop in his bat for better strike zone control despite a BABIP only a few points above his career average. It's hard to say what next year is going to look like for him, but even if he doesn't slug .450 he should still bring league average defence and is probably a safe bet to put up better than league-average on-base numbers for at least the next couple seasons.

On the other hand, Kinsler's numbers at Comerica are terrible, though it's a tiny sample size. He does hit much better in Arlington than pretty much anywhere else he's played as well...

The more I think about it, the more I think that this could end up being bad for BOTH teams.
Mike Green - Thursday, November 21 2013 @ 09:25 AM EST (#280775) #
You can imagine any number of career paths for Fielder- David Ortiz and Jason Giambi on the one hand, and Boog Powell and (at the extreme) Mo Vaughn on the other.  (insert mandatory PED comment)
Mike Green - Thursday, November 21 2013 @ 09:34 AM EST (#280776) #
Finally, it should be noted that Jurickson Profar's full name is Jurickson Bartholomeus Profar. He's probably not going to be as good a player as Derek Sanderson Jeter, but he gets my vote in the name game.
Parker - Thursday, November 21 2013 @ 09:36 AM EST (#280777) #
I don't know that I'd compare Fielder to Ortiz. I wouldn't even call Ortiz a "fat" player... he looks very solid for a guy his size. Then again, I never thought of Vaughn as a "fat" player either, but he sure followed the fat player career path.. I'm not making a very strong argument here. I guess what I'm saying is that I never really expected Ortiz to have an early decline because the guy looks like he's in outstanding shape for a guy his size. He's actually slimmed down quite a bit the last few years. Fielder on the other hand obviously struggles with his weight, and has continued to gain weight despite changes in his diet. Maybe he needs to get his jaw wired shut or something.
Lugnut Fan - Thursday, November 21 2013 @ 10:05 AM EST (#280778) #

The Tigers have a decent second base prospect in the minors in Hernan Perez.  He will most likely be in Toledo this year.  The trade of Fielder gives the Tigers some financial relief and allowing an established MLB second basemen to man the position while Perez is seasoning.  Kinsler's bat will play better than Perez's right now. 

As far as the career numbers that Parker posted about Kinsler's numbers at Comerica Park, those are true.  He will have to adjust to ballpark.  Arlington is a different animal and is one of the more hitter friendly parks in baseball.  I think Fielder will have a good offensive year for the Rangers and his power numbers will definitely increase.  He may be a 40 HR guy there.    I think long term though the Rangers will regret this move.

Magpie - Thursday, November 21 2013 @ 10:09 AM EST (#280779) #
I kinda like this trade for both teams.

Me too. I like it for Texas, for the obvious reasons - it clears a spot for Profar by removing the overrated and overpaid veteran in his way. And while Fielder is the worst defensive player of his generation (and probably the generation before as well), he's still a much better hiter than Mitch Moreland. Even as his numbers continue declining. And yeah, Texas can DH him a lot more often than Detroit could

But I really like the deal for Detroit. Just getting Cabrera off third base and Fielder off first base represents a huge defensive upgrade. Their pitchers are doubtless dancing in the streets as we speak. The only way they could screw that part up would be by asking me to play third. Kinsler should be an okay player, but it should be noted that he's had a pretty massive home-road split over his career - he hasn't hit very well away from Arlington at all.
Mike Green - Thursday, November 21 2013 @ 10:23 AM EST (#280780) #
Kinsler overrated?  Can we step back to the 2011 MVP voting?  You'll find his name well behind Michael Young's.  Or how about 2009 where you'll find his name behind lesser players like Aaron Hill and Adam Lind.

Kinsler's balance of skills- good fielding, good baserunning, some pop, very good control of the strike zone- continues to be underappreciated notwithstanding the advance of sabermetrics. 
AWeb - Thursday, November 21 2013 @ 10:31 AM EST (#280781) #

The middle infielder thing is a red herring, no position ages well in baseball, except for a few exceptions (Ortiz being one currently).

Top OPS in 2013, by birth year (down to Bautista):

1983, 1986, 1991, 1975, 1987, 1984, 1979, 1983, 1979, 1986, 1983, 1982, 1989, 1982, 1985, 1979, 1983, 1980, 1985, 1980.

Aside from the one old guy (Ortiz), no one else was born before 1979. It's one reason why trading Bautista seems like a decent idea for the right return - he's peaked, and he's not approaching that peak again.

It's really unlikely you're getting great hitting from anyone after the age of 33-34, and it's even rarer for defense to improve at that point than it is for hitting, so player values only drop faster. I will hazard a guess that the banning of stimulants, a commonly accepted drug in use in MLB for 40-50 years until a few years ago, isn't making it easier to be good as you get older (other PEDs aside, this one was used, admittedly, by many HoFers).

The problem facing every team is that to get a top hitter for the best ages (30-33, free agent years - you'd want younger, but they aren't available on the market most of the time), those players are currently getting contracts for years you wouldn't want (34-37+). Both contracts are likely to be awful at the end, but if you want to win in 2014, these are the contracts you end up with most of the time. And then you hope you can wring out a bit or decline or trade value by the end. Good trade for both teams here - Detroit and Texas make positional crunches much easier. And they have the money, so why the heck not? There are no awards for best $/win leverage, just the most wins.

Ryan Day - Thursday, November 21 2013 @ 10:32 AM EST (#280782) #
Then again, I never thought of Vaughn as a "fat" player either, but he sure followed the fat player career path

Vaughn was probably never going to play until he was 40, but he did blow out his ankle in 2001 and missed the entire season. I imagine that hastened his collapse - both the injury itself, and the fact that it probably contributed to his weight issues.
Parker - Thursday, November 21 2013 @ 10:57 AM EST (#280783) #
Thanks for the reminder, Ryan; I forgot about that injury. Vaughn was pretty dependable up until then, too. Not quite Prince Fielder dependable, but he sure wasn't injury-prone because of his size up to that point in his career.
Mike Green - Thursday, November 21 2013 @ 11:07 AM EST (#280784) #
Players of Kinsler's type have, on average, aged pretty well.  Here is his BBRef similars chart from age 32 to end of career.  You'll note that the 7 retired players have averaged 4 seasons and 12 WAR.  It's not a perfect group- Joe Gordon and Bobby Grich were clearly better players while Todd Zeile and Davey Johnson were clearly lesser players.  As Kinsler's contract has 4 years remaining on it, it seems reasonable that the Tigers may actually get decent value for the money. It's $57 million for 4 years, plus an option at $12 million in 2018 for his age 36 year (buyout at $5 million).  If Kinsler has a typical aging pattern (3.3 WAR in 2014, 2.9 WAR in 2015, 2.5 WAR in 2016, 2.0 WAR in 2017, let's say), the Tigers would have an interesting decision whether to exercise the option in light of the size of the buyout.  If he does a little better than that, it will be an easy call. Anyways, $14-$15 million per year is pretty much market value for that level of performance.
John Northey - Thursday, November 21 2013 @ 11:13 AM EST (#280785) #
Kinsler is overrated as far as his salary vs production and as far as many seem to be viewing the trade so far.  To many it seems like a blowout in favour of Detroit from what I've been reading but the savings are not as significant as many make it out to be ($46 mil total in  years 5/6/7) and Fielder has a decent shot at being worth more than Kinsler in those first 4 years.

As I've said, Kinsler is a second baseman who is on the wrong side of 30. Those types do not age well and it is dangerous to count on him.  His defense is league average (below average barely the past 2 years via UZR/150 and 0.9 runs to the good lifetime per 150 games which isn't much).  Kinsler is likely to be a $10 mil a year player at first and dropping probably to $5 mil by year 4 - I see that as optimistic.  Fielder, on the other hand, could easily rebound to a $20+ mil a year player for any of the next 3 years (or all 3) and produce at a $5-$10 mil level thereafter.  It really isn't hard to see this deal making Texas look a lot better than Detroit, especially if Detroit cannot get a decent player for 3B or 1B (depending on where to play Cabrera).

Parker - Thursday, November 21 2013 @ 11:37 AM EST (#280786) #
As has been shown above, virtually NO position ages well, and I would venture that Fielder's poor fitness trumps any age advantage he has over Kinsler.

I suspect any "rebound" that Fielder enjoys will be due only to park factors.
Mike Green - Thursday, November 21 2013 @ 12:33 PM EST (#280787) #
Whoa, John Northey. 

Fielder has been more durable than Kinsler so far and is younger.  On the other hand, he's an awfully big man.  Kinsler has battled minor ankle and rib injuries the last couple of years.  Is it possible that Kinsler's power is gone forever?  Sure.  Is it likely?  Not really.  I don't see what's so difficult about saying that both players were once great, haven't been great lately, are both capable of coming closer to their peak in the next few years and are signed to large contracts, with Fielder's being quite a bit more intimidating.

In checking Kinsler's splits, I notice that one team had done an exceptional job of holding him down over his career.  That would be your Toronto Blue Jays who have held him to a .205/.299/.343 line in over 250 PAs in the Rogers Centre and in Arlington.  It's his worst line against any club who he has faced in more than a handful of PAs.  It's a bit strange considering the fact that the RC is a favourable environment and that the Blue Jays have not had close to the best pitching in the league over his career.

John Northey - Thursday, November 21 2013 @ 03:24 PM EST (#280789) #
There is the rub - Fielder has shown health to a degree rarely seen since he became a regular.  He has played in 157 to 162 games each year with 160+ for 5 straight years.  People keep saying 'he is fat and out of shape' but he just keeps going.  Meanwhile Kinsler has cracked 140 games just 3 times in his 8 seasons, and his only 2 years with 5+ WAR was largely thanks to unusually strong defensive numbers those 2 years (2.6 and 2.2 WAR vs no other year over 1.5).  The deals were far apart pre-trade but with $30 mil going from Detroit to Texas they are a heck of a lot closer which makes the deal a lot more iffy.
Mike Green - Thursday, November 21 2013 @ 07:51 PM EST (#280791) #
Here's a point in your favour, John.  As you know, Fielder has lost significant power the last 2 years.  I wondered if all those 162 game seasons were wearing him down.  Answer: no evidence of it.  He has performed as well or better in the second half of the season as the first half in each of the last 2 years, as he has done in his career. 

His #1 BBRef comp is Eddie Murray; statistically, he is an offensively comparable player and he has been about as durable, but they are pretty much polar opposites with the glove. 
whiterasta80 - Thursday, November 21 2013 @ 08:13 PM EST (#280793) #
Personally I think the rangers will get 4 healthy and productive seasons out of fielder with the rest being decline years. I have no idea what to expect from Kinsler but I do know that the tigers had 3 1b/dh types and their best player was excessively burdened by 3b responsibilities. If they can find a decent 3b I think its a short term win for both teams and a long term win for the tigs.
whiterasta80 - Thursday, November 21 2013 @ 08:20 PM EST (#280794) #
Oh and let me go on record saying that the Vargas deal is a win for the Royals and that we may regret not offering the same. He's an innings eater who can fill out any rotation.

Of course there are better options out there but I suspect when its all said and done this is a reasonable price.
John Northey - Friday, November 22 2013 @ 12:30 AM EST (#280797) #
I don't see any reason for the Jays to have wanted Vargas.  4 years for $32 mil for a guy with a lifetime 91 ERA+, cracked 100 just once in his career (2010 and not by much), only 150 innings last year, now on the wrong side of 30.  I think the Jays have about 6 guys who would be as likely to have an equivalent year for a lot less.

As to Cabrera being burdened by playing 3B... last year he had his best OPS+ ever, the year before he won the triple crown.  I have trouble imagining him doing much better by playing elsewhere.
Oceanbound - Friday, November 22 2013 @ 12:56 AM EST (#280798) #
Why would you want to lock up a Vargas type for the length of a presidency? He's just not good enough to warrant that type of deal. The most likely outcome is you desperately wanting to be rid of his contract by the middle of year 2 or 3.
whiterasta80 - Friday, November 22 2013 @ 07:42 AM EST (#280799) #
Time will tell on Vargas, I see it differently. Buerhle has taught me the value of consistently average-above average and in a market like this striking early may be a good idea. I certainly like Vargas at 4/32 better than JJ at 10-14. You take risks as a team whenrebuilding, otherwise I prefer consistency. Cabrera had his 2 best seasons ever with Prince hitting behind him and that's a very real risk of this deal for Detroit. But I don't think that playing third had anything to so with it. On the other hand, I dohink that playing third did lead to his late season/playoff breakdowns the past two years.
greenfrog - Friday, November 22 2013 @ 08:53 AM EST (#280800) #
I think Vargas would have had a tough time in the RC. Check out his home/road splits. He has pitched in pitcher-friendly environments at home.
92-93 - Friday, November 22 2013 @ 09:33 AM EST (#280801) #
"Cabrera had his 2 best seasons ever with Prince hitting behind him and that's a very real risk of this deal for Detroit."

The 2 seasons before Fielder got to Detroit were significantly better for Miguel Cabrera than 2012. Protection is a myth.
Mike Green - Friday, November 22 2013 @ 09:48 AM EST (#280802) #
Is there any reason to believe that Vargas will be significantly better than J.A. Happ next year?  The only thing that I can think of is that Vargas is more likely to throw 200 innings.  I can't imagine why you would want to make a 4 year commitment for that, on top of the money already committed to Happ.
whiterasta80 - Friday, November 22 2013 @ 10:31 AM EST (#280803) #
I don't mean to single you out with this comment but I can't believe that anyone who says that "protection is a myth" has ever played (or at least pitched) the game of baseball at more than a casual level. I am sick of that statement it isnt even funny. I am not going to dig up my argument with Fangraphs on this other than in addition to arguing that batting order doesnt matter, you are effectively arguing AGAINST walking the #8 hitter in the NL. Please let me manage against you one day.

I still believe that Miggy sacrificed productivity in his quest for the triple crown in 2012. As such I rate it right there with his best ever. Even still his oWAR was right there with 2010-2011.

I also find it interesting that you chose 2011 (and Victor Martinez's 131 wRC+) and 2010 (Ordonez, 133 albeit in limited at bats) to dispel the myth of protection. The Tigers have done just a great job of protecting miggy through his time there. I suspect the tigers will find someone again next year (possibly vmart or hunter if they stay in house).

Obviously it is a two way street too: those guys absolutely benefit from hitting behind Miggy, but why dont you ask Giancarlo Stanton whether he'd prefer Prince Fielder or Justin Ruggiano hitting behind him.
whiterasta80 - Friday, November 22 2013 @ 10:37 AM EST (#280804) #
I knew the Vargas statement wouldnt be popular but I stand by it. It was based on the following.

1. I currently have Happ as our #3 starter (Morrow cant stay healthy) so the 2 arent mutually exclusive.
2. I find him very likely to throw 200 innings.
3. I like his low walk rate
4. His price allows us to do other things (particularly if the Matt Kemp rumours are true).
5. There is an inherent value in having him slotted in early in the offseason.
lexomatic - Friday, November 22 2013 @ 11:18 AM EST (#280805) #
I was unable to directly reply to a post (I got returned to the home page - FYI site people)

I don't mean to single you out with this comment but I can't believe that anyone who says that "protection is a myth" has ever played (or at least pitched) the game of baseball at more than a casual level. I am sick of that statement it isnt even funny. I am not going to dig up my argument with Fangraphs on this other than in addition to arguing that batting order doesnt matter, you are effectively arguing AGAINST walking the #8 hitter in the NL. Please let me manage against you one day...
Obviously it is a two way street too: those guys absolutely benefit from hitting behind Miggy, but why dont you ask Giancarlo Stanton whether he'd prefer Prince Fielder or Justin Ruggiano hitting behind him

I believe the "protection is a myth" statement, because I feel that it gets taken too literally sometimes. Your Stanton example is perfect, but he's also about the only major-league calibre hitter currently on the Marlins roster (some more may get there, but there's not a lot there).  The way I understand the statement, is that you don't need to have another super heavy hitter behind your slugger - what you need are competent hitters. So, I understand the statement to be false on an individual level. I think protection makes some sense when considering the lineup as a whole. If you have a bunch of reasonably talented hitters, then everyone is likely to benefit from having better at bats, wearing the pitcher out, etc. But I don't think one player makes enough of a difference unless there's only one good hitter in the lineup.
Does that make sense to you?
dalimon5 - Friday, November 22 2013 @ 11:19 AM EST (#280806) #
LOL. This is why I keep coming back to the box. I love posts like this. Whiterasta you're killing it man.
Parker - Friday, November 22 2013 @ 11:19 AM EST (#280807) #
Vargas is consistent, I'll give him that. He's consistently just below league average. If that's all you can get for 4/32 in this market, I think the Jays might be in trouble if they're counting on a free agent signing to fix the disaster that is the Toronto pitching rotation...
Parker - Friday, November 22 2013 @ 11:26 AM EST (#280808) #
Obviously it is a two way street too: those guys absolutely benefit from hitting behind Miggy, but why dont you ask Giancarlo Stanton whether he'd prefer Prince Fielder or Justin Ruggiano hitting behind him.

Or ask whether Joey Votto would rather hit in front of a productive Ryan Ludwick, or the empty batting average of a slap-hitting Brandon Phillips. I'm frankly amazed that Votto saw a single pitch in the strike zone in 2013.
Thomas - Friday, November 22 2013 @ 11:48 AM EST (#280809) #

I am not going to dig up my argument with Fangraphs on this other than in addition to arguing that batting order doesnt matter, you are effectively arguing AGAINST walking the #8 hitter in the NL. Please let me manage against you one day.

I think most people who argue against the alleged benefits of protection are arguing is that, given the calibre of major league hitters and the relatively small gaps in skill between hitters on a team as they are ranked from best to worst, replacing Fielder with Martinez will not meaningfully effect the way that Cabrera is likely to be pitched next year. Most people who argue against protection would not take the position that there would no effect if you batted the pitcher behind Andrew McCutchen for the entire season.

As a nice example, here's how much the protection of Fielder assisted Ryan Braun:

Ryan Braun (2011, with Fielder): .332/.397/.597 with a 9.3% walk rate

Ryan Braun (2012, w/o Fielder):  .319/.391/.595 with a 9.3% walk rate

John Northey - Friday, November 22 2013 @ 12:07 PM EST (#280810) #
For protection I always love the old comparison Bill James did.  Atlanta in the mid-80's was a bad team with Dale Murphy, a two time MVP, in the heart of the lineup and Bob Horner, a solid hitter but one who was hurt often, hitting after him.  In one of the old Abstracts James mentions how it was mentioned what amazing numbers Murphy had with Horner hitting after him but if you compared those numbers to his overall figures you saw he actually was hitting better without Horner than with.

Protection basically is something that exists in the non-ML world due to the drastic differences between good and poor hitters and the lack of reward for patience.  In the majors though things are different with the exception of extreme cases (such as pitchers hitting).  In the majors you have guys who know the strike zone to a decent degree (even JPA has knowledge he just doesn't use it much) and hitters who can hit within eyeshot of others with rare exceptions (Barry Bonds being at video game level, or Thole at a low level).  This makes it so intentional or 'non intentional intentional' walks are not a good strategy.

When I was playing in university the best hitters on the club were miles ahead of the rest. They'd get walked a lot but pitchers were not good enough to dance around the zone without getting burned. In the majors they can dance around but the spread isn't enough to make it worthwhile. 

Basically, while protection does sort of exist the effect is generally only seen in extreme situations and often the end result is good for the team hitting regardless as long as the guy being pitched around acts more like Bonds (taking walks) than like George Bell in the final week of '87 (swinging at anything).
whiterasta80 - Friday, November 22 2013 @ 12:12 PM EST (#280811) #
Parker, I suspect that votto remembers every single strike he was thrown in 2013.

Lex/thomas. The statement "protection is a myth" is an absolutism and both of you disagreed with it in your responses. To varying degrees. So we agree that protection is real just differ on the degree.

I see it as a continuum that has diminishing returns at the high end. It likely also varies between individuals and situations. Thats why individual examples don't work. For every Braun, there is a votto, or stanton.
92-93 - Friday, November 22 2013 @ 12:25 PM EST (#280812) #
"I don't mean to single you out with this comment but I can't believe that anyone who says that "protection is a myth" has ever played (or at least pitched) the game of baseball at more than a casual level."

I played baseball at the NCAA level. I hope that allows me to notice that Miguel Cabrera's tremendous success has little to do with who is hitting behind him, and everything to do with him being one of the greatest hitters of his generation. Players' numbers are going to "naturally" fluctuate on their own within a range.
whiterasta80 - Friday, November 22 2013 @ 12:35 PM EST (#280813) #
John I think that, particularly with big sluggers who are slow footed (miggy, butler, ortiz etc...). The unintentional intentional walk is a fantastic strategy. You speak as if every hitter is Joey Votto, unilaterally unwilling to expand their strike zone in the face of poor pitches. In fact very few are, most do change their approach (maybe not to JPA levels, but a little). Now you have a slugger swinging at your pitches more often: very desirable.

Even if the hitter does take the walk, the risk only comes with adequate protection. If the hitter has power then you risk giving up multiple runs. But Without that you have a good shot at a double play and have a station to station runner not likely to score on a double.

Ive heard the Murphy example before and I dont think it is relevant. First off he was a very good runner, which made walking him dumber than the typical slugger (a walk of Billy Butler is one thing, a walk and a SB is entirely different). In that case the unintentional intentional walk is not a good approach here. Second, we are talking about an era in baseball that didnt have near the scouting we have today. The unintentional intentional walk was simply not as easy to do as it is today with the hitting zone info etc...

On a side note, I love this site for the back and forth debate on these things, look forward to any counter arguments.
whiterasta80 - Friday, November 22 2013 @ 12:44 PM EST (#280814) #
92-93, my apologies for the tone there. I didnt mean to single you out and NCAA is further than I ever got admittedly. I was, however, attempting to express my frustration with that statement which I still find ridiculous.

Of course Cabrera's success is largely his own, but if you don't give him someone behind him he's either going to swing at pitches he doesnt like or hes going to walk a tonne and will influence the game far less (see Votto 2013). I would be utterly shocked if you did not see this attempted at the NCAA level with the best hitters. Now Victor might be sufficient protection for Miggy if vmart doesnt revert to first half form, but outside of him and maybe hunter there's nobody on the tigs that I wouldn't pitch around Miggy to get to.
Hodgie - Friday, November 22 2013 @ 01:32 PM EST (#280815) #
"or hes going to walk a tonne and will influence the game far less (see Votto 2013)"

In my opinion this is one of the biggest fallacies behind the "protection matters" argument. Joey Votto was not less influential in 2013 despite the silliness currently emanating from Jocketty and the Reds. Votto circa 2013 provided offensive value completely in line with his career norms. In the vast majority of game situations, a hitter's primary goal should be to not make an out. Truly elite hitters do that regardless of who is hitting behind them. If you want to argue that protection protects RBIs I would agree with that and then share my views on RBIs...

CeeBee - Friday, November 22 2013 @ 01:50 PM EST (#280816) #
Then we can get into "clutchness" as well. I really do love the hot stove league time of year. We don't have to care much about probable starters, who's injured or who's hot or not and instead we can talk about trades, fantasy trades, free agents and a whole lot of interesting topics like the one above. Just glad this is a civil forum with mostly well thought out and well explained points and counter points. Thanks to all for making the fall and winter a whole lot more interesting.
whiterasta80 - Friday, November 22 2013 @ 02:19 PM EST (#280817) #
Hodgie, I think I really just stated that poorly. My point is that the ultimate goal is TEAM runs scored. Votto walking is exactly what he should do and it does mean that he has been productive if he is being pitched around. But it doesnt mean that the team has: if it doesnt result in more runs scored then the unintentional intentional walk has done its job.

101 runs scored (on par with his 162 game avg for his career) suggests that it did work.
greenfrog - Friday, November 22 2013 @ 02:51 PM EST (#280818) #
The Cards just traded Freese for Bourjos. With highly successful teams like the Rays, Tigers and Cards acquiring or extending Jose Molina, Iglesias and Bourjos, could the value of excellent defense be any clearer? AA, take note...
Mike Green - Friday, November 22 2013 @ 03:13 PM EST (#280819) #
Kolten Wong to second base, Matt Carpenter to third.  Wong was a "low-ceiling collegiate draft", just behind Beede.  Sigh.
John Northey - Friday, November 22 2013 @ 03:17 PM EST (#280820) #
For protection to be relevant you basically need one of two things...
1) A great hitter who has a tendency to swing too much at non-strikes (George Bell being the classic - he'd get more HR and RBI but also made a lot more outs)
2) A lineup where outside of your big hitter and the guys setting him up you have nada.  IE: a lineup with Rickey Henderson, Roberto Alomar, Barry Bonds then 6 guys who hit like Izturis did this year, thus making walks for Bonds fairly useless.

Even in case #2 if you get protection for your big hitter then you need protection for the guy after him, and so on.  But did the increase in runs come due to protection or due to having more solid hitters?  Case #1 is more relevant as getting a hitter who is scary and has strike zone control (ie: won't swing at pitches in the dirt) then your big slugger will be able to be more productive because the opposition won't want to walk him.

Slow runners being 'base cloggers' is a long time myth that comes from frustration.  Watching someone run from 2nd to home and barely make it on a triple for the batter is annoying but generally few hitters would ever catch up to any baserunner, even a Molina, unless the guy didn't run from the base or was totally out of it in which case being slow is secondary.  No hitter has ever had a 500 batting average, even in the 1800's, in the majors.  That means swinging away is less than a 50-50 odds of getting on base.  A walk is a 100% chance of getting on.  To give up that no doubt about it  baserunner in exchange for less than a 50-50 shot at making it on base is a poor trade except in super-rare cases (runner on third less than 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th or later).  Generally more baserunners = more runs unless you have a stack of pitchers hitting next and even then some runs will come from walks.  Even the best HR hitters had them less than 15% of the time so a 1 in 7 shot at scoring yourself and few sluggers have approached the 15% mark (Bonds with 73 HR barely cracked it, no one else has reached 14% in a season and the highest non-PED assisted figure is 11.8% by Babe Ruth in 1920 or a 1 in 8 odds of getting that HR).  If you have a slugger stretching 'out of their zone' then I'd put those odds even lower. 

So does protection exist? Yes but to worry about it is not a good idea. Far better to worry about having good players.  Should sluggers reach 'out of their zone' to avoid walking? Except in super-rare cases no.

John Northey - Friday, November 22 2013 @ 03:22 PM EST (#280821) #
Quiet off-season for the Jays so far.  Few rumours and no action.  Hopefully the calm before the storm.  The Matt Kemp bit was silly as we all know AA has a rep about asking for every player on every team and the 6 years left plus being in CF makes him an odd choice.  Kemp had a poor year (injury filled 105 OPS+ after a 147 and 172 the previous two years) thus is a good target if the Jays feel he is healthy (due to get $21 mil a year through 2019) as he would be cheaper than last winter.  Still, 2 injury filled years in a row makes one nervous but that is where bargains can be found too.

Hopefully we have some interesting Jays news soon.
Mike Green - Friday, November 22 2013 @ 03:29 PM EST (#280822) #
Should sluggers reach 'out of their zone' to avoid walking? Except in super-rare cases no.

I'd give that one an absolute no.  There are hitters who may be well advised to swing at specific pitches outside the strike zone as opposed to "out of their zone"- Vladimir Guerrero and Yogi Berra come to mind.  You need three things- exceptional contact ability, significant power and a preference for certain pitches which happen to lie outside the strike zone. 
whiterasta80 - Friday, November 22 2013 @ 03:43 PM EST (#280823) #
I would never advocate a slugger swinging outside of the zone. I am just saying that they do.
Lylemcr - Friday, November 22 2013 @ 04:23 PM EST (#280824) #

For "protecting" a hitter, I think it depends on the hitter, the situation, the pitcher etc.  For example, you don't pitch to EE with a runner on 2nd and 3rd with Lind on deck.    But you might pitch to him if Lind is on his hot streak. 

Plus, a pitching strategy is a pitching strategy. You have an idea on how you want to pitch a hitter, you don't change because someone is on deck.  Unless the hitter after you is really poor.  (see J. Bautista a couple years ago. How many walks did he get?)


One thing I do know is that having a lesser batter after a good batter, does not make you a better batter.    (Unless you are Vernon Wells and you try to hard)

92-93 - Friday, November 22 2013 @ 05:24 PM EST (#280826) #
"One thing I do know is that having a lesser batter after a good batter, does not make you a better batter."

Perhaps players with inferior hitters behind them buckle down during their ABs more so than they'd do with the luxury of a stud behind them? If you believe a player can be clutch and protected, why is the inverse of that any less plausible?
whiterasta80 - Friday, November 22 2013 @ 07:08 PM EST (#280827) #
Either scenario is entirely possible but my argument isn't that lack of protection changes the batter so much as it gives the other team more options to work around them. It may not always work, Phillips may sometimes follow votto with a 2 run Hr, but more options can only help the pitcher overall.
Hodgie - Friday, November 22 2013 @ 10:51 PM EST (#280828) #
Apropos of nothing more than a desire to share some filthy prospect porn heading into the weekend, I give those who may have missed them two reasons to consider Marcus (Who Needs Jason Vargas) Stroman, Toronto Blue Jay starting pitcher ETA 2014.... Marcus Stroman, the mythbusting machine and Marcus Stroman impresses.
SK in NJ - Friday, November 22 2013 @ 11:04 PM EST (#280829) #
I know it's early, but seeing how the off-season has progressed so far, I think AA should hope for a Red Sox 2013 type turnaround next season instead of overpaying in a weak FA class and/or sacrificing more prospects for short-term gain. Dickey is close to 40. Buehrle will be 35 in the start of next season. Morrow is oft-injured. Happ is a #5 starter. The Jays desperately need cheap, young, high upside arms to filter through the system and fill MLB spots over the next few years, especially with the backloaded expensive contracts already on the books.

If they do acquire a starter, make sure he is a 200 IP starter and at least league average. If the Cubs are willing to sell low on Edwin Jackson, he is a prime candidate, IMO. Signed for three more years, $13M each season, but a movable commodity who will throw 180-200 IP regularly. Probably wouldn't cost Stroman, Sanchez, or Hutchison either, although who knows how much Theo values him.

Ideally the Jays would add two starters. They need it. But maybe adding one dependable starter, hoping for internal improvement, and then waiting for the near ready arms to come up mid-season is the better short and long-term approach. Either it works like it did for the Red Sox, or it doesn't, and you hope the 2015 class is better.
Richard S.S. - Saturday, November 23 2013 @ 01:08 AM EST (#280830) #
Waiting for A.A.'s next deal is enough to turn interest to other things. Hopefully something happens before all the players we need are acquired by other teams.
christaylor - Saturday, November 23 2013 @ 11:57 AM EST (#280832) #
I find the most compelling argument against protection mattering comes from how little lineup optimization matters. Optimizing a lineup is, in essence, optimizing protection for everyone in the lineup -- the run expectations for the best optimized lineups rarely outperform un-optimized traditional lineups by a large number of expected runs.
whiterasta80 - Saturday, November 23 2013 @ 01:49 PM EST (#280833) #
Christaylor, i don't really know how that claim can really be substantiated. the appropriate, blinded, prospective study required to actually prove that will never be done. nobody is going to put the pitcher hitting cleanup in their lineup. That's the extreme example but the comparisons i have seen have always been optimized vs semi optimized. That isn't the same as what you claim.

Even ignoring protection for a minute, optimization its important because you don't want to sacrifice at bats by hitting miggy canrera 9th
smcs - Saturday, November 23 2013 @ 03:26 PM EST (#280834) #
Even ignoring protection for a minute, optimization its important because you don't want to sacrifice at bats by hitting miggy canrera 9th

Optimization isn't really a big deal because managers roughly understand that your best guys should be put near the top of the order, and your worse guys should bat near the bottom of the order. Quibbling over the exact, optimal order is much less important than who the players are.
BlueJayWay - Saturday, November 23 2013 @ 05:54 PM EST (#280835) #
McCann close to signing with Yankees, per Rosenthal and others.
krose - Saturday, November 23 2013 @ 05:59 PM EST (#280836) #

Enjoyed reading this analysis of trade value in the Jays pen.
CeeBee - Saturday, November 23 2013 @ 06:00 PM EST (#280837) #
Hope it's for a lot of years and a lot of $ per/yr. More is better.
Beyonder - Saturday, November 23 2013 @ 06:15 PM EST (#280838) #
Bruce Levine reporting that Toronto is putting a package of young players together for Jeff Samardzija. Probably too much to hope that neither Stroman or Sanchez are part of that group.
SK in NJ - Saturday, November 23 2013 @ 06:30 PM EST (#280839) #
I hope that "rumor" isn't true. Samardzija is decent, but not a game changer (107 and 93 ERA+ the last two years in the NL Central), and honestly I'm tired of the Jays acquiring pitchers from the NL. If he wants to trade with the Cubs, then get Edwin Jackson. He had a poor 2013, but he has proven he can pitch in the AL, and he's only a year older than Samardzija. But after giving up 75% of the minor league pitching depth to get Happ, Dickey, Buehrle/Johnson/Reyes, etc, it's about time the Jays focus on developing their own talent. Otherwise, after this "window period" is over, they will be Houston Astros level bad.
AWeb - Saturday, November 23 2013 @ 06:42 PM EST (#280840) #
McCann for 5 years, $85 million to the Yankees. That seems...about right, actually. A top 10 catcher is probably worth that much to a contending team.
Richard S.S. - Saturday, November 23 2013 @ 08:24 PM EST (#280841) #
McCann's gone so Saltalamacchia becomes the Number One catcher available. Then Pierzynski, followed by backups, and the remaining, less than useful, starters. The market for Arencibia gets stronger.
Parker - Saturday, November 23 2013 @ 08:58 PM EST (#280842) #
It makes no sense to me whatsoever that the Jays would even consider giving up anything of value for a pitcher like Samardzija. He's a below-average pitcher in the weaker league and his numbers in interleague have been terrible.

I'm starting to think Anthopoulos is more lost as a GM than Ricciardi was; at least Ricciardi was able to acquire below-average talent through the draft - Anthopoulos can't even manage that much and has to trade for it instead.
Richard S.S. - Saturday, November 23 2013 @ 08:59 PM EST (#280843) #
Peralta being signed by St. Louis makes no sense. I thought they wanted to go young.
whiterasta80 - Saturday, November 23 2013 @ 09:24 PM EST (#280844) #
I would have paid that for McCann. It was my ceiling, but I would have paid that. Decent move for the Yanks.

I feel like every offseason we seem to take a step back with our pitching targets. 2 years ago we were talking about Darvish, Latos, or Gio Gonzalez (how awesome would any one of them be right now). Last offseason we acquired Buerhle (generally successful), Dickey (still not bad) and Johnson (no comment). Now we are talking about potentially giving up Stro-show or Sanchez for Jeff Samardzija? Yes he's better than Vargas who I was just extolling, but Vargas only cost money, and those 80 walks in the NL central scare me a lot!
Richard S.S. - Saturday, November 23 2013 @ 11:16 PM EST (#280845) #
A.A. did say of all the deals he's been working on for Pitchers, none have been mentioned anywhere by any type of media. Mainly because that caliber of pitcher is not discussed or usually traded.
Richard S.S. - Saturday, November 23 2013 @ 11:22 PM EST (#280846) #
That being said, I'm not adverse to signing Ubaldo Jimenez. He's figured out how to pitch in the A.L. Of course, it unlikely to happen.
John Northey - Saturday, November 23 2013 @ 11:46 PM EST (#280847) #
Hrm... AA is known for not being known when it comes to trades until the last second.  Who could be a significant pitcher he'd be chasing?  Would have to be from a bad team one would think.

Seattle lost 91 with Hisashi Iwakuma and Felix Hernandez in the rotation plus a ton of bleck.  The 5 guys with 5+ starts other than those two had ERA+'s of 75 and down.  However, Paxton looked good in his 4 starts (sigh) and Taijuan Walker in his 3 starts did well (just 20 years old) so they might be getting a really good front 4 for 2014/2015 which would change a lot.  Possible but unlikely unless they want tons of young arms and the Jays are willing to pay it for Iwakuma (signed for 2 more years).

The White Sox lost 99 games with 3 guys having 120 ERA+'s in their rotation, Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and Hector Santiago all LHP.  Sale is super-cheap (4 years guaranteed plus 2 team options worth a max of $56.65 mil) so I cannot see him being traded for less than a kings ransom. Quintana won't be a free agent until 2019, Santiago 2018.  If the ChiSox trade any of those 3 the cost will be sky high.  It also shows you need more than 3 excellent starters to win.

The Marlins have Jose Fernandez who is just 20 and no way on earth they trade him.

The Cubs Travis Wood had a good year but doesn't impress enough, Edwin Jackson was once a Jay for 10 minutes and again doesn't jump off the page. 

The Twins lost 96 but have no starters worth chasing, same for Houston.

At 89 losses the Phillies stand out with Cliff Lee being a prime asset to rebuild their club by trading. Signed for 2 + vesting option (200+ IP gets year 3) his deal is worth a max of $77.5 mil so trading him would free a ton of cash for the Phillies plus get some solid prospects one would think. But they seem determined that they are still contenders.

A few interesting ideas but I just don't see any of them being traded, at least not any that would make me go 'woohoo' if the Jays got him.  Many I'd love the Jays to have, just none that will likely be traded.  But who knows?

For contenders the Reds are interesting - they had 6 guys with 10+ starts and ERA+'s over 100, 3 over 120.  So they might be willing to do a deal to fill in another hole somewhere else but one of them (Bronson Arroyo) is a free agent so maybe not.

Lots of possibilities, few that see likely.  Guess it all lands under the matching needs here with needs elsewhere.
China fan - Sunday, November 24 2013 @ 01:34 AM EST (#280848) #
".....But after giving up 75% of the minor league pitching depth to get Happ, Dickey, Buehrle/Johnson/Reyes...."

That's a bit of a silly exaggeration, unless the Jays only had 4 good pitchers in their system before those trades. They gave up only three good pitching prospects in those trades: Syndergaard, Nicolino and Wojo. (The others were marginal prospects.) By your math, the Jays should have only one good pitcher left in their system. Instead they have Sanchez, Osuna, Stroman, Nolin, Jenkins, Hutchison, Drabek, etc.

"....I'm starting to think Anthopoulos is more lost as a GM than Ricciardi was; at least Ricciardi was able to acquire below-average talent through the draft - Anthopoulos can't even manage that much and has to trade for it instead..."

Umm, but who did AA use in his trades? He used the prospects that the Jays acquired in the draft. You can't condemn a GM for acquiring players by trade. And whether his prospects are developed or traded, you have to look at the final product. Trading a prospect doesn't mean that the prospect was useless. The prospect was used to obtain other players. So let's wait a year or two and see how those trades panned out -- and how the draft picks panned out.

"...Now we are talking about potentially giving up Stro-show or Sanchez for Jeff Samardzija?...."

There's no evidence that Stroman or Sanchez will be traded away. It's pure speculation. No point in condemning Anthopoulos for fictitious trades that haven't happened yet. Remember the Bautista-for-Brown trade? We were condemning that one too, and it turned out to be a figment of someone's imagination.
Jake W - Sunday, November 24 2013 @ 01:41 AM EST (#280849) #

In terms of Samardzija, if I'm Epstein, I start by asking for either (i) Sanchez or Stroman, (ii) a ready arm like Hutchison or Nolin, (iii) a low-level arm like Norris or Smoral and (iv) maybe a low-level bat to go with these arms.  Given that the Cubs system is loaded with bats (Bryant, Baez, Almora, Soler, and to a lesser extent, Olt) I want high-impact young arms like Sanchez to go with CJ Edwards.  This way I get a wave of young talent in one year for Wrigley.  What do the Jays get in such a deal?  Two years of a potential #2 starter.  Not horrible but I suppose that the Jays cannot resign Samardzija given that the Cubs have not done it yet and would probably love to given his age and potential.

If the Jays do a deal like this then it leaves an even bigger hole in a year or two as there's little ready in terms of arms.  Just two years ago, AA was talking about balance throughout the system.  Problem is that any trade involving young pitching will probably create more imbalance.  Even if the two high picks from next year's draft are spent on pitching, it's unlikely that it would help in the short-run unless the Jays get a very high-ceiling AND polished college pitcher.  Given the position of the picks, it seems that other teams would pounce on such arms if available.  That probably leaves high-end high school arms.

If I'm AA and this is Epstein's ask then I'd probably consider expanding the deal.  Maybe ask for Arismendy Alcantara (2b prospect in AA) and Rizzo?  This would probably require giving up Encarnacion but Rizzo has power and a good OBP conditional on the low average.  Rizzo is locked up through 2020 though and is only 23?  Risky to give up Encarnacion if you're going for it in 2014 but if you're emptying the system, at least get something long-term that still has ability to impact 2014, right?  This way the Cubs get an affordable bat for 2 years (with an option).  Given their timeline, this may not be realistic but may be worth considering.  If their young ones are ready by 2015 they still get EE for 2015 and 2016.

Alternatively, the Jays ask for Castro who is also signed through 2020 but then ask him or Reyes to play 2b.  This allows the Cubs to keep Baez at SS and they have Alcantara at 2b.  They get rid of a potential problem if Castro is not fixable and save a bucket of cash.  In return, if I'm Epstein, I ask the Jays fork over either (i) Lugo or Barreto and (ii) maybe Osuna or Stroman (in addition to Sanchez).  This alternative smacks of the Marlins trade a year ago.

I'm having a hard time seeing how the Jays get an impact starter without giving up at least some combination of (i) Sanchez or Stroman, (ii) Hutchison or Nolin and (iii) some other good prospects.  After watching Gose hit, I just don't see him being a centrepiece (at least at the moment) but if the idea is contending in 2014, I don't want to give up Rasmus either.  Tough spot.
85bluejay - Sunday, November 24 2013 @ 05:36 AM EST (#280850) #
While I'm not against trading prospects, the Jays FO has done such a horrible job of it (starting with the Happ trade) that I cringe whenever I read a rumor involving the jays prospects - unfortunately, with a GM that's feeling the heat and likely more concerned about his next contract than the future , I expect the farm to be sacrificed again & I'm expecting less than exciting returns - it's especially disappointing to fans like myself, whom would like the organization to build a consistent contender instead of a so-called "window of opportunity" which kind of connotes a back to the drawing board aspect after windows closes.

As for Samardzija, he kinda went backward last year , is about to get very expensive & hasn't pitched in the AL - why not just sign Garza?
John Northey - Sunday, November 24 2013 @ 10:24 AM EST (#280851) #
I'm hoping AA sees that average (95 ERA+) pitchers are not worth $10 mil+ a year or top prospects.  Sure, they can be useful but right now the Jays have a stack of guys who might be able to produce at that level right now with potential for more (Morrow, Hutchison, Drabek, Redmond, Happ, Rogers, Jenkins, Nolin to name a few with some ML experience) plus Romero of course.  Other prospects in the system might do better than a 95 ERA+ right now given a chance as well (Sanchez, McGuire, Stroman).  That is a lot of stuff to throw at the wall for the #4/5 slots. 

Meanwhile we have two guys who have shown as recently as 2012 that they can be very solid #1-3 starters in Dickey & Buehrle.  So that leaves just one open slot and that should be taken by an ace level guy not by a mediocre guy who will eat innings.  Now, if a 95-105 ERA+ guy drops into the Jays laps at some point this winter they what the heck, but it would be dumb of AA to blow 2 high end prospects or $10+ mil on a guy like that.  Better to role the fiscal dice on a Garza, Tanaka, or go cheap and hope for a Halladay recovery than that imo.  For risky but cheap there are a few options (Johan Santana, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt [high ERA but HR/9, BB/9, SO/9 last year were great in Colorado]).  Heck, Bartolo Colon is tempting if cheap enough (he is a 'fall into your lap' guy late in the winter) due to his ERA+ being 107 or better in 5 of the last 6 years with the one year not pitching - although he is high risk due to his multiple PED issues.

Y'know, Colon actually is a very tempting target the more I look at it. He would probably sign for a 1+1 deal at under $10 mil (A's didn't make a qualifying offer and most clubs, unlike the Jays, seem to avoid PED guys) so the dollar cost is low and he'd bridge the time for the kids to get a bit more ready.  He isn't likely to be an ace but solid #2/3 guy which would give us 3 of those.  Money and prospects would still be there for an ace and the Jays wouldn't be wasting money on a guy unlikely to be more than what we already have as I suspect Colon would be either a 110-120 ERA+ or total collapse with a short/cheap commitment.  Might have to wait until February for his demands to get to that level, but certainly worth watching.
Parker - Sunday, November 24 2013 @ 11:09 AM EST (#280852) #
Umm, but who did AA use in his trades? He used the prospects that the Jays acquired in the draft. You can't condemn a GM for acquiring players by trade. And whether his prospects are developed or traded, you have to look at the final product. Trading a prospect doesn't mean that the prospect was useless. The prospect was used to obtain other players. So let's wait a year or two and see how those trades panned out -- and how the draft picks panned out.

The result of these trades as far as I can see is the acquisition of two pitchers who are league-average at best, on the decline, and are owed a metric ton of money; and an admittedly good leadoff hitter who is injury-prone, on the decline, whose skillset is based on speed and contact (which are the first skills to decline), is a below-average defender at the second-most important fielding position, and is also owed a ton of money. For these prizes, the Jays farm system has gone from one of the highest-ranked in baseball to one that is considered below average. My issue isn't with trading prospects, it's with trading prospects for a vastly inferior return than what other teams have gotten for a similar cost. I don't care whether the prospects work out or not; the fact that THIS is the best Anthopoulos could do with them is what concerns me.

Congratulations on missing my point entirely and still coming off as patronizing. Nicely done.
92-93 - Sunday, November 24 2013 @ 11:14 AM EST (#280853) #
"In terms of Samardzija, if I'm Epstein, I start by asking for either (i) Sanchez or Stroman"

And hopefully you'd get hung up on. Starting pitchers have fetched a lot less in trade than people assume the last few years, and someone of Samardzija's stature isn't worth a top 50 prospect just to get the conversation started. If you're trading Sanchez/Stroman the target needs to be better.
Gerry - Sunday, November 24 2013 @ 11:40 AM EST (#280854) #
AA on Sirius/XM

- didn't deny the Samardzija interest

- does not have an offer out on a starter at this time

- does have a potential small trade on the table that might happen in the next few days

- has inquired on positions where the Jays don't have a need because other teams have asked them about their players
Richard S.S. - Sunday, November 24 2013 @ 11:57 AM EST (#280855) #
Why not just sign Garza?
1) Injury issues the last two years, ages 28 and 29.
2) 5 or more years and $17.5 per year for a top Free Agent Pitcher seem a little bit costly.
3) Returned to the AL last year he had his worst year (1/2 year) ever.

Why/why not trade for Jeff Samardzija?
1) Equal value for equal value or no deal.
whiterasta80 - Sunday, November 24 2013 @ 11:59 AM EST (#280856) #
My aversion to samardzija has everything to do with not wanting to part with stroman or sanchez who should be reserved for players with longer and better track records. If we were talking gose, nolin and a 15-20 guy then count me in. Contrary to the above it is exceedingly hard to find league average starters. Otherwise we would have done so the last 2 years.

Samardzija also has quite a bit more upside than a #5.
whiterasta80 - Sunday, November 24 2013 @ 12:04 PM EST (#280857) #
League average as defined above, which is closer to a#3 in the al east. Did AA say anything about free agents in the interview. If he isn't close on trades is it because a signing is on the way? One can dream right?
China fan - Sunday, November 24 2013 @ 12:05 PM EST (#280858) #
"...Congratulations on missing my point entirely...."

You claimed that Anthopoulos was "lost." Pretty difficult to misconstrue your point. No subtle nuance there.

And you haven't provided any evidence for your sweeping claim that he is "lost" -- aside from a trade that is still too early to judge accurately.

You've noted that the Jays farm system was once among the best in the majors. Yes, true. But the point of baseball is not to cultivate a great farm system. Ultimately that farm system has to be converted to major-league talent. I'd rather have a middle-ranking farm system and a good major-league team, which is what AA has been trying to do. It hasn't succeeded yet, but I don't disagree with the strategy.
China fan - Sunday, November 24 2013 @ 12:33 PM EST (#280859) #
"....the Jays FO has done such a horrible job of it (starting with the Happ trade)...."

The word "horrible" is completely unjustified. AA's record in trading prospects is mixed, but certainly far from "horrible."

In the Happ trade, the Jays gave up only two decent prospects (Wojo and Perez) and there are signs that neither of them will become good starters in the majors. Wojo is projected to become a reliever. Perez is projected to become a back-up catcher. For a possible reliever and a possible back-up catcher, the Jays acquired Happ, who (in my view) still has potential to be a good No. 5 starter in the majors. I'm giving Happ a mulligan on 2013 because the season was largely ruined by a fluke injury. I saw enough signs from him in late 2012 and late 2013 that I still think he can be an adequate starter. Check out his September 2013 numbers for a sense of his potential.

If you want to talk more broadly about Jays trades of prospects, the evidence is mixed but it would be highly unfair to use the word "horrible." The Jays predicted accurately that they could give up on prospects such as Snider, Thames, Nestor Molina, Zach Stewart, Rzepczynski, Hechavarria, etc. For those guys, the Jays acquired a batch of useful major-league players, including Rasmus, Santos and Delabar. So they achieved a good record on those prospect trades. You can legitimately criticize the Jays for trading away Yan Gomes (although almost nobody saw him as a prospect). The only other good prospects who were traded recently were Syndergaard, d'Arnaud, Nicolino and Marisnick. Those guys were central to the acquisition of Dickey, Reyes and Buehrle. I would argue that it's much too early to judge those two trades. We don't know if any of those four prospects are going to become stars in the major leagues. We don't know how the Jays will do in 2014 and 2015 with Dickey, Reyes and Buehrle. It's much too early to condemn Anthopoulos for either of those trades.
katman - Sunday, November 24 2013 @ 12:40 PM EST (#280860) #
"I'd rather have a middle-ranking farm system and a good major-league team, which is what AA has been trying to do. It hasn't succeeded yet, but I don't disagree with the strategy."

I agree with the strategy, but it's important to note that Parker's complaint was about execution. If you have no confidence in the executors of the strategy, it never matters how good that strategy is.  Specifically, there's a lack of confidence in (a) valuation of Jays prospects; and (b) results experienced from the veteran returns. The best reply isn't philosophical, it's examples of trades that show return trade value for prospects who didn't pan put with the other team.

The Cubs trade would get us a high strikeout guy with a decent walk rate, but a middling ERA/ERA+ in the National League. Haven't looked at the stats, but if he's at all homer-prone, that's a huge risk. By July, one might be getting the same from Stroman, without having given up all the prospects and taking on salary to watch someone with good stuff and a homer risk factor. Why not just sign Colon? Giving up top prospects in return for someone like S. goes against the pledge to be competitive year after year, and starts looking like the Philllies rather than the Rays.
katman - Sunday, November 24 2013 @ 12:42 PM EST (#280861) #
Ah, much better response while I was writing.
China fan - Sunday, November 24 2013 @ 12:47 PM EST (#280862) #
Thank you, Katman. And let me add: I wouldn't agree with trading Sanchez or Stroman for a mediocre veteran or a replacement-level guy. I would hope that the Jays could achieve a better return if they need to trade one of those two prospects.
greenfrog - Sunday, November 24 2013 @ 01:03 PM EST (#280863) #
I'm a bit envious of the Yankees for signing McCann to a somewhat-reasonable contract. He doesn't come without risks, but he would have been a big upgrade for the Jays at C (arguably the team's greatest need this off-season). A good catcher is (often) the straw that stirs the drink.

I would be very happy with Conger (another good receiver) and a decent backup, though. However, I suspect Conger probably isn't getting moved.
Wildrose - Sunday, November 24 2013 @ 03:13 PM EST (#280864) #
Samardzija is an interesting arm. It's probably best to project him using an non-ERA based metric where by you can take the element of random luck, poor defence and the fact Wrigley field is a very positive hitting environment out of the equation. In terms of xFIP amongst N.L. starters with over 300 innings the past two seasons, the Shark is ranked at # 10 with xFIP of 3.42 ( league average was 3.90 ).

He's also a pitcher who has been a starter for only the last two years, so perhaps room for future growth. He throws hard and is second to only Strasburg in the N.L. in terms of average starter fastball velocity, 94.7 MPH over the past two seasons. He also has enough secondary pitches to miss bats, his 9.01 K/9 strike out ratio is also only second to the Washington star. This is a power pitcher who has the stuff I would think to pitch in the tough A.L. East.

Now would I trade for him. I don't know ? It all comes down to the cost. I'm getting a little worried about AA expending all his prospect capital. I'd probably prefer signing a free agent pitcher and using that capital for a catcher or second basemen , but then we don't know what the budget or market is dictating. Samardzija is an intriguing arm though, I can see why they are interested.
Richard S.S. - Sunday, November 24 2013 @ 04:06 PM EST (#280865) #
Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez will be in the 5-7 year, $17.5 MM -$20.0 MM per year range, and cost a Draft Pick and it's cash value in the Draft Budget. Matt Garza and Ricky Nolasco will be in the 4-6 year, $16.0 MM - $18.0 MM per year range and will not cost a Pick.

Mashiro Tanaka will need a $50.0 MM - $60.0 MM Posting Fee and $60.0 MM - $80,0 MM to sign him.

Hiroki Kuroda and A.J. Burnett will sign only with their last team (NY and Pit respectively) and have no value to anyone else.

Scott Kasmir, Bartolo Colon and Bronson Arroyo round out the Top 25 Free Agent list, those in the bottom 25 are not much better, if at all than in-house choices.

Wildrose has a point. Samardzija would be the Jays' Number Two Starter, and might be more. His value will be high. If you want better, that will be even more pricey.

If you don't want to pay the price, don't expect the Jays to ever be in the Postseason - EVER. Are you then a true Blue Jay fan?
earlweaverfan - Sunday, November 24 2013 @ 04:35 PM EST (#280866) #
Please Richard

You have a legitimate point of view.  Other people have legitimate points of view. 

That's what makes this a (mostly) enjoyable place to read and to post, and most of all, to learn.  I almost never come on this site and fail to find some opinions and insights I can learn from. 

In order to retain these qualities of a fine site, we all have a responsibility.  Most of all, to show respect for those who disagree with us.  Also, to be open to learning and expanding our own horizons.

That responsibility is not consistent with suggesting to people that if they disagree with you, they are not a True Blue Jay Fan.  You seem to want to go there even in anticipation of someone disagreeing with you - to preempt the possibility that they will dare to disagree with you.

You will find that if you just drop the attack mode from your repertoire, your readers will be much more open to learning from you.


Signed:  Another True Blue Jay Fan

John Northey - Sunday, November 24 2013 @ 05:29 PM EST (#280867) #
If Samardzija is your #2 pitcher you are not going to the post-season unless your offense is an incredible one.  Samardzija  has been a starter for 2 years and in those 2 years his ERA+ has been 107 and 91.  His HR/9 is 1.0 and 1.1 which, in the NL Central, is a major warning sign.  His K/9 and BB/9 are both fine figures at 9.1 and 3.1 for the combined 2 years but would I be excited if the Jays traded a couple of top prospects for him?  No, I'd be disappointed.  To say a true Jays fan must be excited about the idea of getting a guy likely to be, at best, #3 and maybe #4 in the rotation here ... perhaps #5 or lower even ... is not right.

Last winter if you told me the Jays were going to get a solid #3 guy plus a current Cy Young winner and a guy who has been a contender for it recently I'd have been very excited and we all were.  That is what you chase - guys who might be great.  Chasing the Samardzija type pitcher is just asking for another Gord Ash era of mediocrity. At least imo.
eudaimon - Sunday, November 24 2013 @ 05:48 PM EST (#280868) #
Mostly it just seems odd that people are jumping to the assumption that we'd be trading Stroman or Sanchez for Samardzjiga (sp?). The report says a package of young players, which I don't think would include Stroman or Sanchez. If one of these players did happen to be involved it would probably be a one-for-one trade a la Marcum for Lawrie. I think this "package" would include some moderate to low prospects.

Regardless, stressing out about this is premature. We have no facts whatsoever!

McNulty - Sunday, November 24 2013 @ 06:19 PM EST (#280869) #
JS is certainly an upgrade at the #5 spot over Happ et al. If the trade is for lower level prospects, this is a very good move, one that will solidify the rotation. If we can get our hands on Ubaldo as the #2, our rotation looks pretty darn good to me.
Parker - Sunday, November 24 2013 @ 06:21 PM EST (#280870) #
Yeah, katman nailed it for me. Though I actually do disagree with Anthopoulos' strategy (see below) it's the execution that really bothers me. We've already seen the returns on his two biggest trades, and it doesn't really matter whether any of the prospects traded away ever amount to anything, because at the time they were traded they had huge value - that's the key point I'm trying to make. The Jays have already lost those two trades, not because of the long-term value of the assets they gave up, but because of the poor overall performance of the players they chose to acquire with those assets. I feel they lost the Happ trade too, as I don't see any reason to believe that Happ is or will ever be a consistently effective starter in the majors. Giving him a pass because of the unfortunate injury is fine, but expecting him to be any better than he has been in the past, for an organization that breaks pitchers rather than fixes them, makes no sense to me at all. Perez might not be projected as any higher than a backup catcher, but since the Jays' STARTING catcher was worse than most of the league's backups this past season, they didn't exactly trade from a position of strength, and the fact that they thought that's what they were doing at the time is a huge red flag as to the front office's inability to properly assess talent. The Jays traded away every single catching prospect in the system who might've been able to help out at the major league level this year, and then the starting catcher they pinned all their hopes to produced one of the worst offensive seasons in the history of the game, while being merely terrible on defence.

As for the strategy of trading prospects to acquire players acquired as free agents by the previous team, I do not understand this at all. This seems like the worst of both worlds to me. Not only are the Jays paying UFA prices (even worse - they're acquiring these contracts after missing out on the earliest years - the only time when the player is expected to produce equivalent value to his salary) but they're giving up assets to acquire those giant contracts. If the argument is that none of those players would ever play for Toronto if not traded there, then that's a more compelling argument for a capable front office and coaching staff, to get the players young and cheap and without any concerns over whether they want to play for Toronto or not.

Someone commented that there aren't any Beanes or Friedmans out there for the Jays to pick up, but neither of those guys were famous GM's when they were hired. The Jays are obviously trying to find their own Beane or Friedman but they have not succeeded so far. What worries me the most though is that we've heard several times about pressure coming from above to make certain moves, like locking up Wells or the inexplicable "going for it" after a few years of preaching a "build a consistent contender" philosophy. If the GM doesn't have true autonomy and allows himself to be bullied into making horrible decisions, that is an even more serious issue as the idiot making the real decisions keeps his job while his GM is repeatedly scapegoated.
Jake W - Sunday, November 24 2013 @ 08:36 PM EST (#280872) #
More Brainstorming (given minimal research):

Punchline : Go for Brett Anderson and/or Rick Porcello while keeping Hutch, Drabek, Nolin and Stroman.


Stroman and Drabek at some point had/have "frontline" starter potential while Hutchison was seen as a #3 and Nolin a #4 (according to Baseball America).  Letting Sanchez and his "frontline" starter potential get worked on in New Hampshire for a year makes sense.  That's three pitchers in the pipeline who, at some point, had/have "frontline" starter potential.  That's pretty good.

I noticed that Drabek had a very low BB/9 last year.  If he can keep that up then, with the other three having good "control" stats, this might be a good set to let play.  I haven't watched enough minor league games to know about their command (but do remember Drabek's horrible command and control in his Jays days). 

One model to be considered is the Oakland A's.  The last two years is mostly Parker, Griffin, Milone, Straily and Colon.  Throw in Gray at the tail end of 2013.  Milone wasn't highly regarded as even a mid-rotation guy - more a backend command and control guy. Straily was seen as more a #3 ceiling and Griffin didn't even make Baseball America's list of top 10 Athletics prospects.  Milone, Straily and Griffin all had very solid BB/9 number in the minors.  In 2012 they got a good 18 starts from Brandon McCarthy who had a 1.9 BB/9.  Colon has chucked in BB/9 of 1.4 in each of his last 2 seasons with K/9 of 5.4 and 5.5.  Brett Anderson has very good BB/9 stats when he's healthy.  Interestingly, the two young ones that they traded, Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill were both high BB/9 types at the time of their trades. The last 2 seasons the A's have been #1 or #2 in WHIP in the AL while near the bottom in K/9.  It'd be useful to see their home and away WHIPs but maybe that's where the value is in pitching, not so much K/9.  It may be true that BB/9 has more value in a big ballpark like the Oakland Coliseum, but still, something to think about, eh?


I'd look in on Brett Anderson.  He seems to be insurance given Parker, Griffin, Straily, Gray and Milone but Oakland also has little minor league depth in pitching so they may keep him.  He's scheduled to make $8 million this year with a $12 million option in 2015.  Probably a bit too rich for Oakland.  He's an expensive gamble given his injury history but, with that in mind, also has a lower market price in terms of prospects.  Perhaps offering Osuna or Smoral and a decent reliever is enough for Oakland who have just let their closer walk.  The A's get to develop Ynoa and Smoral (or Osuna) and the Jays can replace one of these low-level guys with the picks in the upcoming draft.  Brett Anderson comes with a Roy Halladay-esque GB%, low BB%, a solid K% and is young (25 years old) if the Jays want to sign him to a medium-term contract. 

Alternatively, I'd look at Rick Porcello.  Only 24 years old, ERA has dropped every year in the bigs, GB% always above 50%, always low BB% and his K/9 took a big jump this year.  With Detroit's glut in the starting rotation, the Jays may be able to get Porcello with some relievers and a mid-level prospect (again, Osuna or Smoral?).  This way, the Tigers get some bullpen help and can develop a decent young starter at the lower levels (which they apparently lack).  Porcello is a free agent in 2016 so the Jays get to hang on to him long enough if he pans out.  At worst, he's a solid #5Ö which Osuna and Smoral may never turn out to be.  At best, the Jays get the "true top-of-the-rotation pitcher" (Baseball America, 2007 draft report) Porcello was once projected to be.

By my reading of Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus (who now periodically have amazing an scouting report column), Norris, Smoral and Osuna have overall future projections as #3 starters.  That's a pretty good prospect but probably a profile that the Jays can recover in this year's draft.  Also, as these three are no higher than Low A, such trades would not setback the Jays pitching pipeline as much as trading Stroman or Sanchez.  Yes, that means that you don't trade for the sexiest names but perhaps that's a sensible shopping strategy. 

Both Porcello and Anderson offer solid to huge upside (Anderson is a lefty) and have done their work in the AL.  This way the staff is solidified, the Jays retain pitching depth and don't sacrifice high- or mid-ceiling rotation types who exhibit decent control.  If the Jays could get both of these two then it wouldn't be as damaging to give up one of Hutch, Drabek or Nolin.
John Northey - Sunday, November 24 2013 @ 08:48 PM EST (#280873) #
The Jays do have a few major questions to answer this winter and 2014 will be the litmus test for AA I think.  He had 3 years where he could trade anyone with no fear of what the teams final record would be, then a major flop when he got the budget to gain top players.  Now we see how good he really is - can he shift the club from last to first or at least contention?

What will cause issues...
  • Payroll: $132 mil estimated right now, general guessing puts it at $18 mil available if needed.  How to clear more space? 2 guys over $15 mil are Buehrle & Reyes, neither of whom have replacements ready (to put it mildly).  2 more over $10 mil are Bautista and Dickey.  Bautista has a few potential replacements in Gose/Sierra/Pillar but no one thinks any of them will be anywhere close to Bautista in production.  Morrow, Cabrera and Romero are making around $8 mil each and no one in their right mind would sign any of the 3 for that much right now.  Reyes moves into super-expensive next year at $22 mil a year for 3 years plus a $4 mil buyout in 2018.  If the Jays could live with weak offense and decent defense then Goins could go to SS while Reyes is traded which would free up major cash but who'd take Reyes and what could the Jays get that could possibly help in 2014/15?
  • Prospects: the top prospects near the majors are all pitchers, which can be good but also means that offensively nothing is coming anytime soon other than Jimenez behind the plate and the 3 kid outfielders who few have confidence in right now.  Goins is here too, but he is viewed as John McDonald lite - strong defense with very poor offense.  Many top prospects were traded to get the guys last winter who now are not looking so fine.
AA needs to pull a rabbit out of his hat. A #1 starter, a solid 2B and solid catcher are the biggest needs followed by a RH DH and decent backup for Cabrera should he and the kids flop.  Then you gotta factor in Lawrie's likely DL stint or two as well.  Those are each major challenges.  The easiest way is to sign Garza, Cano, and whatever catcher is left out there but that would also up the payroll by something like $50 mil and I don't see that happening.

It is one thing to dump Vernon Wells (very impressive), trade Halladay, and find a way to get tons of kids into the system (again, neat trick with bending the rules to get extra draft picks).  It is another to shift from builder to winner.  2014 has to show results or AA will be in deep trouble.  2015 at the latest for serious contention or else.
Richard S.S. - Sunday, November 24 2013 @ 09:07 PM EST (#280874) #
If you are a College/University draft pick, you have three options.
1) If you are very good, you make the Majors in 1-2 years, more than 2 years or never.
2) You are traded.
3) You quit or are released.
If you are a High School Pick or JuCo 1 year, you also have 3 options.
1) If you are very good, you make the Majors in 3-4 years, more than 4 years or never.
2) You are traded.
3) You quit or are released.

I heard that back in the early 70's on an Expos' Telecast. It is well known that a non-competing team usually hypes it's minor system. That makes it harder to trade those players when you are a competing team.

Almost every pitcher had issues which cost the team something. All batters/defenders had issues which cost the team something.

The little I know about Odds suggests the issues that plagued this team, the past two years will not repeat. The chances of it repeating are tiny.

All that is needed is average years from everyone.
greenfrog - Sunday, November 24 2013 @ 10:02 PM EST (#280875) #
Off the top of my head, here are some players I wouldn't mind seeing the Jays go after (obviously some are more realistic than others):

C: Castro, Ramos, S. Perez, Conger, Hanigan, Susac (thinking ahead)

2B: Kendrick (not my favourite player, but could be a decent option for a year or two)

Corner OF/DH/bench: Schierholtz, McClouth (I don't expect AA to acquire a strong fourth OF but I think the team needs one; DeJesus would have been my first choice)

SP: Iwakuma, Jimenez, Burnett, Nolasco, Samardzija, Anderson

AA has a tough assignment. He has multiple needs, a depleted farm system, limited resources, a city that is likely less attractive to free agents (other things being equal), a relatively shallow free agent market, and 29 potential trading partners who know he's desperate to upgrade. He's well into the "forced contention" phase of his tenure and the temptation to buy high will be great. It's not exactly a recipe for success.

I wonder whether he has considered becoming a seller this off-season or in 2014 if things go poorly in the first half.
greenfrog - Sunday, November 24 2013 @ 10:23 PM EST (#280876) #
What would Billy Beane or Andrew Friedman do this off-season if he were parachuted into the role of Jays' GM? It's an interesting thought experiment...
Richard S.S. - Sunday, November 24 2013 @ 10:55 PM EST (#280877) #
1) J.A. Happ only makes this Team as a Starter if bad things happen. Otherwise he, Esmil Rogers and Todd Redmond will be long relief in the Bullpen (oop, they are out of options). The only problem to that is Dustin McGowan and Jeremy Jeffress will be stretched out as Starters this Spring. If they make the Team as Starters, bad things have happened. Otherwise they make the Team as long relief, because they have better stuff that the other three.

2) Cecil, Delabar, Janssen, Santos and Perez make the Team because they are good enough to.

3) Lincoln is out of options. Jenkins, Loup and Wagner are good enough to make the Team, but they still have an option.

That's 14 relievers for 7 spots and only three with options. So 4 Relievers need to be traded or released.

I like the idea of a strong 4th Outfielder that wouldn't be out of place filling in for any Outfielder for a month or longer. But Moises Sierra is out of options. With the recent moves Los Angels made, the only have $8.0 MM before hitting Luxury Tax levels. They could trade Kendrick (amongst others) to clear space for Starting Pitching.

Catchers who play through injury (or tell everyone so) and hit 20 or more HR has trade value, especially J.P.
McNulty - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 12:41 AM EST (#280878) #
These of course, are all my opinions.

Greenfrog, I think they would do exactly what A.A. is trying to do, given the situation you explained (rabbit in a hat) he is in (I agree with you, it's not ideal, but not quite as ominous as you characterize it) which is....

Trying to acquire a reliable back end starter without trading Sanchez, Stroman, or Gose (or perhaps Nolin) and then selling ownership on a 150 million (or larger) payroll (using the leverage that ticket sales, television ratings and interest in the team have increased substansially) using the cash to bid (and overpay) on a free agent starter, (my money is on Ubaldo), and perhaps an upgrade at 2B (my money is on Omar Infante). This would allow Izturis to play the role he performed well for an outstanding Angels team for four seasons, which was utility infielder.

That's what I think Freidman and Beane would do in the Toronto vacuum.
greenfrog - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 02:44 AM EST (#280879) #
I think AA is inclined to avoid Infante, fearing a repeat of last year's Izturis debacle (past-his-prime middle IF who is now more utility player than starting 2B). However, there aren't a lot of options at 2B, so he might end up bidding on Infante. My guess is that he woul prefer Kendrick (perhaps with Conger thrown in), but that Dipoto is asking for a lot in return, given the dearth of second basemen and catchers on the market.
greenfrog - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 02:50 AM EST (#280880) #
When was the last time Beane or Friedman paid full freight for a free agent SP like Jimenez?
John Northey - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 05:44 AM EST (#280881) #
Hard to say what will happen.  Once we pass the winter meetings time we should have a better idea on just what the free agent market really is this winter.  Everyone thinks teams will blow big bucks on anything out there, but the biggest spender has a limited budget this time around (Yankees trying to stay under the luxury tax level) and the next biggest already will be near or over the luxury tax level.  B-R lists the Dodgers as over already (factoring in arbitration), the Yankees as having tons of room ($120 mil leaving $69 to spend but missing their new catcher which cuts $17 mil off it leaving $52 mil).  Hrm... double checking that the Yankees actually have a lot of room to work with - gotta give their GM credit for making it possible (helps losing Pettitte and Rivera). 

Teams currently over $150 mil (thus unlikely to have much room left)... Angels, Dodgers, Phillies
Teams in the $125-149 range ... Detroit, Boston, Toronto, San Fran
Teams in the $100-124 range... Yankees, Rangers, Washington, Reds

Notable low payrolls who could have cash up the wazoo... White Sox, Cubs, Mets, Seattle (under $50 mil even with King Felix...only Iwakuma has a contract in place for 2014 in addition and it is sub-$7 mil), Atlanta (under $90)

Oy.  Checking that list we see clubs known for big payrolls having lots of spending room left.  Yeah, this is going to get more expensive and interesting.
McNulty - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 07:40 AM EST (#280882) #
Beane and Friedman had never had the ability to have an upper echelon payroll like A.A. I answered your question based on those pretenses and because I thought you were asking what they would do given the Jays exact situation.
Mike Green - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 09:01 AM EST (#280883) #
Beane and Friedman had never had the ability to have an upper echelon payroll like A.A. I answered your question based on those pretenses

Freamon flinched, and thought to himself- "the children of Shakespeare don't know the difference between pretenses and premises" and then went back to the task at hand. A few minutes later, he startled with the realization that this McNulty needed a wee dram and that perhaps neither of them were in Baltimore anymore.
Mike Green - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 09:20 AM EST (#280884) #
Haren at $10 m/1 yr plus option and McCann at $85m/5 yr are both good signings.   With Jeter now signed at market value and A-Rod's contract winding down, the Yankees can add payroll (sensibly this time). 
ayjackson - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 09:44 AM EST (#280885) #
It might be too much to ask for, but I hope the Cubs would place some sort of value on JA Happ as part of the package.

I'd rather see a Happ, Nolin, Tirado package, than part with either Sanchez or Stroman.
whiterasta80 - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 10:13 AM EST (#280886) #
I'd love Haren at 1/10 but I suspect our price would have been very different given our league, ballpark, and potential for contention.

John Northey - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 10:43 AM EST (#280887) #
Trading Sanchez or Stroman would be a mistake imo. Jeff Samardzija makes me think too much of Morrow - a guy with the skills to be an ace but somehow avoids being it.  Maybe the Jay scouts see a lot in him and feel the Jays can pull it out of him.  But I fear another case of 'just wait and he'll be good' followed by 'oh, almost there' then 'wait another year, this time for sure'. 
Wildrose - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 10:47 AM EST (#280888) #
Apparently Haren was interested in only signing with a Southern California team, where he and his wife and young children reside in the off-season.

The McCann deal is a very good one for the Yankee's. I just wonder if there would've been any price point at which he'd sign with the Jays. Personally I doubt it. I think it would've been hard to outbid the Bronx Bombers, as well given the cache of playing for such a storied, winning franchise is hard to overcome. Also players may be willing to take less money in New York given the increased opportunity for endorsement deals.

Sadly for the Blue Jays the Yankees appear willing to spend lots to reestablish their declining attendance and local broadcast numbers.
Mike Green - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 11:10 AM EST (#280889) #
Players prefer the weather in Southern California, the exposure In New York and the competence/history in St. Louis to the home of Rob Ford. Quelle surprise!

Toronto is not going to become LA or New York.  What our city can offer at its best is competence and extreme tolerance. 

Gerry - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 11:20 AM EST (#280890) #
What worries me about the Samardzija rumours is AA's job security.  If he is feeling the heat he would be tempted to play for the short term and trade some prospects to deliver a good 2014.  I hope he is not in that mindset but I don't know.
Chuck - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 11:44 AM EST (#280891) #
What our city can offer at its best is competence and extreme tolerance. 

And drunken stupors. Don't forget those.
Richard S.S. - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 11:59 AM EST (#280892) #
The MLB-ready Pitchers that can be traded, still have option(s). They are:
1) Kyle Drabek: (26), pitched well in AAA upon return from DL and not badly in his September callup. He is still seen as having a lot of upside.
2) Drew Hutchison: (23), was a little slower to get up to speed in the minors. He was however, very good in his AFL appearance (Salt River Rafters - 6 Starts, 21.2 IP, 18 H, 6 BB, 20 SO). He is seen as a good asset, possible middle of the rotation or better type.
3) Chad Jenkins: (26), has shown he can pitch up here. I think he could be effective up here, he just needs the chance. He has some trade value, more to some, less to other.

They are also the main callups in case of injury.

Those very near MLB-ready Pitchers that can be traded, still have options. They are:
1) Marcus Stroman: (22), has pitched very well since being acquired. When he can be up is a matter of opinion, everyone's got one. He is a prime asset because he's very ready and he's Front of the rotation or closer stuff.
2) Sean Nolin: (24), has pitched very well since being acquired. He's also very close, sometime in 2014. He has near-prime status because he's seen as a mid-rotation/maybe low two type starter.

They are also main callups in case of injuries.

These MLB Starter / Relievers can be traded, but are out of options. They are best seen as 4/5 types who can start/long relief. They are: J.A. Happ, Esmil Rogers and Todd Redmond. They have been discussed in a previous post. They have value, I just don't know how much.
Wildrose - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 12:03 PM EST (#280893) #
Gerry, I hear you....

I'm beginning to wonder if there's a gun to AA's head.

There's a big rumor out there, from a guy who claims to be a media insider, that the new Roger's CEO who start's his new job come January has ordered , across the board cuts to all Rogers departments to boost short term profits.

The new guy does have somewhat a reputation as being one of these slash and burn corporate cowboys who ride into town, blow things up then moves on.

AA may be be between a rock and a hard place. The bean counters love the increased attendance and television numbers, but by the same token they aren't willing to further invest money in the current payroll given what could be stringent spending parameters in the future.

I hope these rumors are not true , people really don't like change so perhaps a lot of this is just unfounded worry. Until they actually spend some cash this year though, that mind set is going to be out there.
Beyonder - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 12:08 PM EST (#280894) #
I'm more worried about the pressure AA is getting from the ownership side to capitalize on last years' momentum than I am that he would do something short sighted to preserve his job. The whole Dickey/Reyes/Buehrle thing may not work out -- but I still think it was a bold and smart move. I also think he's got a ton of integrity. If it were up to me I would give him an opportunity to carry out another rebuild if he thought that was the right move.
Wildrose - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 12:14 PM EST (#280895) #
Here's the story over at Blue Jay Banter that has people all in a flutter.

"Rogers Communications, the owners of the Toronto Blue Jays, is undergoing a big change in governance as retiring CEO Nadir Mohamed is being replaced by Guy Laurence as the head of the giant media empire effective December 2, 2013. Laurence, a Briton from Manchester, was previously the CEO of Vodaphone. On Friday afternoon, Toronto Sports Media (@yyzsportsmedia) tweeted that he had received a tip that Laurence may be pushing to cut the budget to the Blue Jays, and that money (either this coming season or seasons going forward) may be "very tight."

Hopefully this guy is wrong, and common sense prevails. I'm not really a fan of corporate ownership though, given the vagaries of mandates from senior management.
Mike Green - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 12:28 PM EST (#280896) #
Toronto Sports Media may or may not have any inside information. 

One of the great things about Batter's Box is that there is a bias here against unattributed tips.  Here's a Globe and Mail piece on Laurence.  He does have a preference for casual clothes; I can live with that!
greenfrog - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 12:29 PM EST (#280897) #
If that happens it wouldn't surprise me if AA moved on to greener pastures. I imagine the last thing he wants is to become the next Ricciardi (although JP seems to have landed on his feet).

I wonder if Bon Jovi is a baseball fan?

Richard S.S. - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 12:59 PM EST (#280898) #
That news was discussed on PrimeTime Sports in early October (exact date? I don't know). The Rogers Media Division is not the biggest piece in the Corporation. The Toronto Blue Jays are a very small piece of the Media Division. Any CEO who concerns himself with so minor a matter so soon, will not last long.

The Team was bought from $120.0 MM in 2000 and was valued be Forbes, in March, at $568 MM. The Skydome (Rogers Center) was purchased for $25.0 MM (11 November 2004 - February 2005). Since that time, $100 MM was spent on upgrades (Electronics and stuff). $250.0 MM will be spent over the next decade in retrofits and renovations to modernize the Stadium. Paul Beeston has said that he expects this team to sell for $1.2 -1.3 Billion if any time soon.
John Northey - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 01:09 PM EST (#280899) #
I think the fear is if Rogers puts in a generic 'all departments cut costs by 10%' type thing.  Always an idiotic way to manage, but a popular one as it is easy, looks good to shareholders and might get the CEO a bonus for doing nothing of value.  You see it in politics all the time from Rob Ford to Harper and including Chretien doing drastic cuts in the 90's and Bob Rae doing 'Rae Days' regardless of job (more or less).  It is popular as everyone 'feels the pain' but dumb because you lose revenue due to poor service / performance in some areas and it encourages departments to get 'fat' when times are good so they can cut easier while punishing departments that are run well in good and bad times.
Richard S.S. - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 01:39 PM EST (#280900) #
That very stupid John, I had no idea anyone could be that stupid. Cuts like that could turn a profitable department into a financial burden. Generic cuts always hurt the profitable parts and seldom change the worst losers.

Look at where the money is made. Is there waste there? Any changes here could have a huge effect on the bottom line.

Look at the biggest losses. Can it be turned around? These two areas are where the biggest changes could be made. Stopping the "bleeding" could have a huge effect on the bottom line.

Then you look at the rest, because only the smallest changes could be made. But the best chance for growth could exist here.
smcs - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 02:06 PM EST (#280901) #
Fangraphs Community piece on the effect Dickey has on the relievers that follow him in the same game, and starters in the next game against the same team.

The writer finds that Dickey was worth essentially an extra win because of how much better those that followed him were compared to how they usually are.
bpoz - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 02:17 PM EST (#280902) #
Last off season was very exciting, but the results were bad. I do not care if this is a quiet off season. I want much better results, like 85-95 wins in 2014.

I cannot get over the 2013 disappointment and as a result am unable to get excited about the 2014 speculation.

I am disappointed in the Sam Dyson loss for nothing and the S Nolin burned option. IMO AA had complete control over those decisions, unlike injuries and poor performances by players & coaching staff.I see that as waste and cannot accept it. Nothing was done to help the 2010 & 2011 teams as they were considered very unlikely to win. There were spots given to players like Eveland & Jojo which probably weakened those teams. Making the team based on options is another strategy that I have lost faith in.

Gerry - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 02:22 PM EST (#280903) #

The new Rogers CEO hasn't started yet so most of the speculation is just that, speculation.

I am sure when the new guy does show up he will review all of the operations and numbers of the Rogers corporate entity but that will take some time and the Blue Jays are likely not at the top of the list.  I am sure the "payroll parameters" for 2014 are already established.  If there is going to be a payroll cut it will be in 2015 and that will depend on 2014 results.  That puts more pressure on AA and doubles down on my concerns.

John Northey - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 02:51 PM EST (#280904) #
Dyson and Nolin are interesting cases.  Both seem to be a case of the Jays trying to make a minor league asset look better by giving him a brief (very brief in Nolin's case) audition.  Why do that? Well, with Zach Stewart the Jays gave him 3 starts where he wasn't much (better than Nolin) and he was a part of that big trade to get Rasmus here - heck, it just cost him and Frasor to get Edwin Jackson who was a decent starter with the Jays eating Teahen's salary (about $8 mil) as well.  Wonder if he feels giving a kid a brief audition might jump his value and make him easier to trade as part of a package?  Or if trades are being discussed at the time and the other club says "I need to see him in the majors first".  It is possible.
Mike Green - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 03:18 PM EST (#280905) #
Zach Stewart went with Jason Frasor to the White Sox in July 2011 for Edwin Jackson and Mark Teahen.  Stewart had thrown 94 innings in New Hampshire that year with an ERA of 4.2.  He was 24 years old.    Jackson had not pitched well for the White Sox in 2011 and for some reason, they felt that Frasor would add more value.  Nonetheless, the White Sox were a contending club through the middle of August and bizarrely gave Stewart a bunch of starts (it should have been plainly obvious that Jackson was a lot better pitcher than Stewart and many analysts said so at the time)
Mike Green - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 03:20 PM EST (#280906) #
If the Blue Jays could pair a right-handed reliever equivalent to Jason Frasor (Steve Delabar?) with a starting pitcher prospect of the quality of Zach Stewart (Deck McGuire?) to pick up a starter of Edwin Jackson's calibre, they ought to do it in a heartbeat.  Would that it were so easy.
ayjackson - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 03:31 PM EST (#280907) #

It surprises me that nobody is suggesting moving out Beuhrle while the moving is good.  There's a lot of cash out there.  He's coming off a decent year. His numbers are probably replacable by committee.  If they're seriously going to bring in a starter, I'd like to see Beurhle going out.  I'd pitch in $5m per year to get a decent prospect back.  I'm sure Beurlhe would be much happier in a pitcher-pitbull friendly town.  An added bonus would be never having to actually learn how to spell his name properly.

greenfrog - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 03:45 PM EST (#280908) #
One challenging aspect of making trades under the new CBA could be that in the off-season, few teams view themselves as non-contenders. There are fewer teams that are clearly in rebuilding mode, as a wild card berth is always tantalizingly within reach (or perceived to be within reach). As a result, fewer teams are willing to jettison a quality starting pitcher or ML positional player in exchange for prospects. The few teams that are willing to do so can hold out for a bigger return (this is what happened in the Dickey negotiations).

Sometimes it makes sense to make the trade anyway, as in the case of Cincy and Latos (a trade that occurred under the old CBA, I think).
92-93 - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 03:45 PM EST (#280909) #
It surprises you that a team desperate for competent innings doesn't want to trade the one guarantee for just that?

Look, it's nice to constantly be thinking of how you can sell high and improve your future, but in reality you have a MLB team to deal with, one that you actually want to be winning games. While it's easy to shout "Trade Bautista! Rasmus! Buehrle!" it's a little difficult as an MLB GM to handle your roster like a fantasy team.

"Jeff Samardzija makes me think too much of Morrow - a guy with the skills to be an ace but somehow avoids being it."

Samardzija appears to be relatively durable, though, which is a massive boon for his value to the Jays.
Richard S.S. - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 03:50 PM EST (#280910) #
These days right now are a trade/few agent mecca as G.M.s try to get everything possible done before the U.S. Thanksgiving (the practical people/turkey lovers celebrate both), because the following days are pre-Christmas stuff. Following is a 10 day period of interest where more signings than trades usually happen. Then come the winter meetings 9-12 December. After then is 12 day period where business is brisk. After Christmas, most rosters are set except for bench and other Minor stuff.

So aside for any late post- Christmas signings, A.A. has four windows of opportunity: 25-27 November; 29 November-08 December; 09-12 December; 13-24 December.

I can understand his urgency, but from what I heard (Drunk Jays Fans site - 19 Nov 13) A.A. say, he's got more than a few trade worked out contingent on whether a Team gets the free agent they want. If not, the deal goes through. If they do, well, he's got other deals.
ayjackson - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 04:04 PM EST (#280911) #

It surprises you that a team desperate for competent innings doesn't want to trade the one guarantee for just that?

No. It wouldn't surprise me that the Jays wouldn't trade competent innings.  It surprises me that nobody around around here has suggested it. 

SK in NJ - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 04:15 PM EST (#280912) #

The problem with trading Buehrle is that 1), as mentioned, he is a good bet for 200+ innings at around league average production, and 2) you would have to replace him with the saved money in addition to using it on other upgrades. If the Jays had a stacked rotation, or a young starter breaking down the door, then it would be different. As is, Buehrle is the 2nd best starter on the team right now. You can't trade him unless you have 3 starters better than him in the rotation, and with Morrow's health and Happ's career of mediocrity, that's not going to happen this off-season. Maybe next off-season, if Hutchison, Stroman, and Sanchez prove to be ready, you can even consider the move, but right now it makes the team worse short and potentially long-term (i.e. if trading Buehrle results in rushing a prospect to replace him).

Someone mentioned Bartolo Colon earlier, and while that would be a big buy high situation (he is definitely going to decline from 2013), it's probably the safest way to go as it shouldn't be more than a two year guaranteed deal tops, it won't cost a pick or a prospect, and his age will make him cheaper/obtainable.

Original Ryan - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 04:19 PM EST (#280913) #
If the Blue Jays could pair a right-handed reliever equivalent to Jason Frasor (Steve Delabar?) with a starting pitcher prospect of the quality of Zach Stewart (Deck McGuire?) to pick up a starter of Edwin Jackson's calibre, they ought to do it in a heartbeat. Would that it were so easy.

It also appears that teams are not as willing to spend as much as they once were on guys at the back end of the bullpen. That might make it harder for the Blue Jays to turn their relief pitching depth into something worthwhile on the trade market.

Lylemcr - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 04:19 PM EST (#280914) #

After seeing the money the catchers are going for, JPA is looking a little shiny and new to me.....  Ruiz and McCann do not deserve those numbers.

IMO, I would like them to bring back Mathis.  Get me a pitcher that calls a good game and bat him 9th.

Mike Green - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 04:24 PM EST (#280915) #
JPA is looking shiny and new? That's Madonna-talk.  I am thinking a little grittier, but  he aint dirt cheap and I don't know about the dirty deeds...
92-93 - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 04:30 PM EST (#280916) #
"That might make it harder for the Blue Jays to turn their relief pitching depth into something worthwhile on the trade market."

Joe Smith (not the basketball player) just received a 3 year, 16 million dollar deal. Relievers are still assets.
Original Ryan - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 04:37 PM EST (#280917) #
Joe Smith (not the basketball player) just received a 3 year, 16 million dollar deal. Relievers are still assets.

I don't disagree (I'm aware of the Smith deal), but I'm skeptical the Blue Jays could package Janssen or one of the other relievers with a prospect or two and plug a hole on the roster.

ayjackson - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 04:48 PM EST (#280918) #
Let me just add that I'd rather add to the offense than the rotation. So if we are trying to add a front line starter, I see an opportunity for unloading Beurhle.
China fan - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 04:49 PM EST (#280919) #
"....Jeff Samardzija makes me think too much of Morrow - a guy with the skills to be an ace but somehow avoids being it...."

Recall that the Jays acquired Morrow for the total cost of one (1) reliever, plus a marginal OF prospect who never panned out. If they can do that again to acquire Jeff Samardzija, they should jump at the opportunity. Sure, it's easy to say that Morrow has failed to fulfill his tremendous potential, but he was certainly an above-average starting pitcher in 2012. If the Jays can get a season like that from Samardzija, he would be worth a reliever or two.
China fan - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 04:55 PM EST (#280920) #
"... I'm skeptical the Blue Jays could package Janssen or one of the other relievers with a prospect or two and plug a hole on the roster...."

Skepticism is always useful, but it's not impossible to package relievers to acquire good players. The Jays have done this in the past: Morrow and Rasmus are two examples.
greenfrog - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 05:25 PM EST (#280921) #
My sense is that teams are generally getting better at valuing relievers. Plus, there is no more draft compensation for most relief pitchers. For these reasons, I see the Rasmus example as being less relevant to the market in 2013 (although the Jays were somewhat Rasmus-ed in the Rogers trade last off-season, so creative deals involving relievers are still possible).

One way to create value is to turn perceived bullpen arms into starters (Cashner, Stroman) or starters into high-performing relievers (Janssen). Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't.
greenfrog - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 06:52 PM EST (#280922) #
Speaking of Cleveland, Terry Francona has announced that Gomes will be their starting catcher in 2014.

I hope Esmil Rogers performs better next year than he did in 2013, if only to ease the pain of that trade.
Richard S.S. - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 07:22 PM EST (#280923) #
Hopefully Esmil Rogers is part of a package that gets us a much needed piece.
Hodgie - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 07:49 PM EST (#280924) #
It will be interesting to see what Gomes has in store for a encore. If you believe WAR, Gomes would have been the best backstop in MLB last season by a considerable margin if only he had seen more playing time. Quite the feat for a player with his pedigree.
Wildrose - Monday, November 25 2013 @ 10:10 PM EST (#280926) #
"One of the great things about Batter's Box is that there is a bias here against unattributed tips. Here's a Globe and Mail piece on Laurence. He does have a preference for casual clothes; I can live with that!"

Well Mike if all he does is make employees wear Black I'll be happy. Actually I read the story you linked when it came out several months ago as well as several others.

The common thread is cutbacks and shaking up the status quo. Hopefully he respects the many synergies Keith Pelley has developed between sports and Rogers media division that he now runs. I think Gerry's point is well taken though, perhaps Laurence needs time to assess the lay of the land.

Unfortunately this assessment may not jibe with offering long term free agent contracts, I guess we'll have to wait and see what transpires. Certainly though, it's fair to monitor the team's actions in terms of what the actual plan may be. Trading prospects for short term gain is something I'd rather not see.
jerjapan - Tuesday, November 26 2013 @ 08:17 AM EST (#280929) #
A Fangraphs rule 5 preview article has 2 Jays as rule 5 candidates ... Marcus Walden and Ryan Tepera.  Neither guy had been on my radar at all till a Bauxite (Gerry I think) covered these guys as legit relief sleepers. 

In a BP chat Jason Parks said that the Jays are as deep in pitching prospects as San Diego, so count me amongst those looking to add offence to this club.  

This system is deep in relief pitching - I just wish we could convert some of our depth into an actual ML asset.

85bluejay - Tuesday, November 26 2013 @ 09:09 AM EST (#280931) #
Rogers sportsnet exclusive deal with the NHL is not good news for the Jays - means less time on Sportsnet for the Jays, a less valuable property for rogers to sell it's product & could mean less money allocated to the Jays budget in future since rogers owns all of these properties - Also, I wonder if rogers may sell off some jays broadcast to TSN.
85bluejay - Tuesday, November 26 2013 @ 09:15 AM EST (#280932) #
Pittsburgh acquisition of LH outfielder Jaff Decker is probably bad news for "superstar in waiting" Travis Snider
Original Ryan - Tuesday, November 26 2013 @ 09:26 AM EST (#280933) #
The NHL deal will probably just give Rogers an excuse to add more Sportsnet channels. After all, they need a place to put their poker re-runs.

Coming soon: Sportsnet 361, 362, 363...
China fan - Tuesday, November 26 2013 @ 10:24 AM EST (#280934) #
"....Rogers sportsnet exclusive deal with the NHL is not good news for the Jays - means less time on Sportsnet for the Jays..."

Alternatively, it shows that Rogers is still very committed to its sports interests and sees the value in big investments. Which would be good for the Jays.
ayjackson - Tuesday, November 26 2013 @ 10:42 AM EST (#280935) #
Plus its sub-licensing agreement with CBC in hockey, could offer up an alternative baseball broadcaster in the busy Spring.
Ryan Day - Tuesday, November 26 2013 @ 11:05 AM EST (#280936) #
Recall that the Jays acquired Morrow for the total cost of one (1) reliever, plus a marginal OF prospect who never panned out. If they can do that again to acquire Jeff Samardzija...

Part of the Morrow deal was Seattle's belief that he wasn't cut out to be a starter - from their perspective, they were swapping relievers. (Perhaps they were right - Morrow's had some bright spots, but also inconsistency & injuries.)

Samardzija's pitched 175 & 213 innings the past 2 years, so I don't think the same applies. He's established himself as a starter, so should fetch a starter's price.
ayjackson - Tuesday, November 26 2013 @ 11:56 AM EST (#280938) #

Gammons was on the MLBNetwork this morning discussing, among other things, Mark Beurhle rumours.  I'm assuming I started them here yesterday.

Nothing earth-shattering, just that the Jays have looked into moving him.

Mike Green - Tuesday, November 26 2013 @ 12:11 PM EST (#280939) #
Today's Globe and Mail had an interesting baseball story in the Life section.  The author does not mention that Joe Medwick's complete nickname was Ducky Wucky, which explains a lot. 
greenfrog - Tuesday, November 26 2013 @ 12:28 PM EST (#280940) #
Speaking of Morrow, have there been any injury updates about him?
Ryan Day - Tuesday, November 26 2013 @ 12:46 PM EST (#280941) #
Morrow is rehabbing in Arizona, apparently making progress but not (as of a couple weeks ago) fully recovered.
John Northey - Tuesday, November 26 2013 @ 02:07 PM EST (#280944) #
Buehrle being traded wouldn't shock me as he is signed for age 35-36 for a fairly high price ($18/$19 mil).  I see him as a late winter trade though unless someone is very anxious about settling down their rotation.  The Jays would (rightly) demand a lot even though trading him would mean salary relief as he is also needed here.  If traded I'd hope the Jays have a strong possibility of getting 2 other pitchers. 
cybercavalier - Tuesday, November 26 2013 @ 03:40 PM EST (#280945) #
Re trade of Buehrle,

How about him for Alfonso Soriano and 2 minor leaguers from the Yankees ? Replenishing the Jays' minor league is the first priority while Soriano buy Lawrie another season to play 2B and 3B. Can Soriano be shifted to 3rd base and play part time left field ?

Hodgie - Tuesday, November 26 2013 @ 04:12 PM EST (#280946) #
Given the Jays current situation and stated goals, there are not many circumstances in which I would entertain trading Buerhle and I for one hope the rumors are just that. Given that Dan Haren is being hailed as a bargain, I don't see the remaining two years of Buehrle's contract being much more than market value (free agent market of course). You can set your watch to 200+ IP of league average to slightly better performance and excellent defense. Not a lot of pitchers that can make that claim. Also, by all accounts he is also an active mentor, something that never hurts with the likes of Hutchison, Drabek and Nolin being likely contributors at some point in 2014.
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 26 2013 @ 04:14 PM EST (#280947) #
This year's Hall of Fame ballot is truly ridiculous- Maddux, Glavine, Schilling, Mussina, Frank Thomas, Bagwell, Biggio, Piazza, Raines, Trammell, Larry Walker, Edgar Martinez, and of course Bonds and Clemens.  Even if you take a radical anti-PED stance (not voting for someone with even a sniff of it), there are at least 11 players to vote for and that's for a pretty small Hall person.  It seems pretty much inevitable that a good candidate will end up dropped from the ballot. 

To the sportswriters: please read up and vote for 10.  This ballot has so many great options that there is no reason to vote for the 10 of your choice. 
Hodgie - Tuesday, November 26 2013 @ 04:33 PM EST (#280951) #
Sadly Mike, due to the sheer idiocy of the BBWAA, there more than a few worthy candidates that may have to resort to this before seeing induction.
John Northey - Tuesday, November 26 2013 @ 04:50 PM EST (#280952) #
You know the ballot has become insane when the 'remainder of the ballot' guys listed are Edgar Martinez, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Tim Raines, Curt Schilling, Lee Smith, Alan Trammell and Larry Walker.  The guys they discuss in that article at are Barry Bonds, Jack Morris, Craig Biggio, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Frank Thomas, Mike Mussina, Tom Glavine, Jeff Kent, Greg Maddux and Mike Piazza. 

They FEATURE 11 guys, one more than the ballot can hold, while leaving off two 500 HR guys, the 2nd best leadoff hitter ever, a former leader for all-time saves, a WS hero who is viewed as a probably HOFer, and others who should get in someday.  Just crazy. 

Now, to make it crazier next year you add Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz - all 3 should be in the HOF someday with the first two being first ballot quality.  Then you add Gary Sheffield (500 HR) and Carlos Delgado (473 HR) just to make it muddier - one with PED issues, one viewed as clean.  So if fewer than 3 go in the ballot is more crowded and top-heavy next year. 

2016? Ken Griffey Jr
2017? Manny Ramirez, Ivan Rodriguez, Trevor Hoffman (601 saves) and Vladimir Guerrero
2018? Jim Thome, Chipper Jones, Andruw Jones
2019? Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera
2020? Whoever retires after this season.

Sheesh.  Talk about crowded ballots.  Every year has someone who should be a first ballot plus you have that crowded ballot this year with tons of leftovers.

This years ballot has 3 guys with 100+ WAR and 8 more with 70+.  Generally 70+ should be a HOF lock but there are 11 with that much.  I suspect Palmeiro will fall off the ballot by going under 5% (8.8% last year), Alan Trammell has 2 more years after this before he is off, Mussina has issues that might keep enough voters away to get him off the ballot quickly (20 wins just once, under 300 wins, sub 500 record in the postseason and no WS rings), the other 8 with 70+ WAR will probably be stuck there for along time as I doubt more than 2 will get in at any one time.

Also on the 5% risk list? Sammy Sosa (12.5%), Jeff Kent (not liked, HR record for second basemen might be forgotten by voters with this crowded a ballot), and all new players on the ballot other than Maddux, Glavine, and Thomas.

It will be interesting to see what voters do.  My personal ballot? I don't worry about PED too much so it'd be Bonds, Clemens, Maddux, Glavine, Schilling, Bagwell, Thomas, Walker, Trammell, Raines.  Hrm...ran out of room but want to add Biggio, Piazza, McGwire, Sosa, Kent, and McGriff (old Jay fan speaking there) while tempted by Mussina (would have trouble voting for him due to his attitude about the day for Tom Cheek and his actions at the AS Game), Edgar Martinez, Rafael Palmeiro (PEDs do bug me with him due to his being caught after the finger wagging episode) and Lee Smith (having a career record viewed as significant for as long he did is noteworthy).  Huh, 20 players in total I'd like to put on the ballot.  Now that is insane and shows how insane the voters have been - skipping a year and putting in non-HOF quality in Bruce Sutter and Jim Rice.
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 26 2013 @ 07:22 PM EST (#280953) #
I'd happily vote for any of John's first 10 plus Piazza, Biggio, Edgar, Kent and Mussina.  I've never come remotely close before to having 15 players I would want to vote for without hesitation.  I mean, it's not like Fred McGriff would be a bad choice, and I am biased towards him, but...
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, November 26 2013 @ 07:44 PM EST (#280954) #
Sportnet and the NHL announce a 12 year $5.2 Billion deal. Hard to cut Blue Jays' budget after that.
ComebyDeanChance - Tuesday, November 26 2013 @ 08:18 PM EST (#280955) #
Sadly Mike, due to the sheer idiocy of the BBWAA, there more than a few worthy candidates that may have to resort to this before seeing induction.

While I think that the Deadspin vote-buying scheme certainly reveals "sheer idiocy", I disagree that the "sheer idiocy" involved is that of the BBWAA.
John Northey - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 06:36 AM EST (#280956) #
The BBWAA "sheer idiocy" is the way they are ignoring stars from the 80's and beyond in HOF voting. Just checking this decade...
2010: Dawson in, but Blyleven, Larkin and Alomar (all clearly superior candidates) left out not to mention long time waiting Alan Trammell, Tim Raines and first timer McGriff
2011: Alomar & Blyleven finally in, but Bagwell plus Larry Walker on ballot now
2012: Larkin in (better late than never) but the above guys still waiting
2013: No one voted in despite the above plus Biggio, Piazza, Schilling, Lofton (who didn't even get 5%)

Not to mention PED guys McGwire (in all years), Palmeiro (since 2011), and last years class of Clemens, Bonds, and Sosa.  All 5 would've been 1st or 2nd ballot guys without PEDs.  Piazza and Bagwell have been painted with the PED brush despite no serious PED concerns.

So right now, not factoring in clear PED guys, you have 7 guys waiting who if they played in the 50's might've been in by now or at least on the edge plus Lofton would still be kicking.  Remove those guys from the ballot and it would be a bit less crowded.  If PED's of today were treated like greenies (which have very clear and strong effect on performance) then Bonds/Clemens/McGwire/Palmeiro would've been in and Sosa might or at least been very close.  Remove the guys likely to have made it under the methods used for guys who played in the 50's/60's and you would have Trammell, Bagwell, Raines, Bonds, Clemens, McGwire, Palmeiro in almost for sure and one of Piazza/Biggio/Sosa (doubt more than 3 get in last year) with many others in the 50%+ area like Walker, McGriff, Schilling.  Of course, without the PED witch hunt Bonds would've played a few more years too thus helping cut the crowding down a bit.
Paul D - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 07:23 AM EST (#280957) #
I think idiocy is the right word.  If you want to not vote for a proven PED user that's fine, but there's zero evidence that either Bagwell or Piazza used PEDs, but they're on the outside looking in because.... Bagwell had big muscles?
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 07:49 AM EST (#280958) #
Wandering through other sites I noticed a Jays Journal site article, Kevin Pillar in Dominican Winter Ball. Is he our # 4 OF next season? Is he being highlighted for a trade?
ayjackson - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 08:27 AM EST (#280959) #
I don't know why we'd be highlighting him for a trade in the DR. I think the winter leagues are good for developing hitters against breaking balls.
John Northey - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 08:54 AM EST (#280960) #
Playing in winter leagues is all about reps for players. Getting them used to different environments, different game situations, pressure (they are very passionate about baseball down there) and the like.  It has virtually nothing to do with showcasing as the talent is so variable (from ML'ers to never signed players) that to scout it would be a nightmare.

Pillar I figure is fighting for that 4th OF job/RH DH role with Sierra (replacing Davis).  Gose being a LH hitter will not be part of the RH DH battle and thus could find himself in AAA due to the numbers game.  It'll be interesting to see who comes to camp via invites and trades/free agent signings as odds are there will be a couple more RH hitters who can play the OF and DH in camp.  If the Jays get a 1B/3B who can hit LHP then he'd be the RH DH and backup for 1B/3B ala DeRosa and that would open the 4th OF job to Gose as well.

As is right now I guess it'd be
CA: JPA/Thole
1B: Encarnacion
2B: Goins/Izturis
3B: Lawrie
SS: Reyes
LF: Cabrera
CF: Rasmus
RF: Bautista
DH: Lind
OF: Sierra or Pillar or Gose
IF: unknown as the only candidate right now is Jon Diaz (counting non-roster invitees and guys on the 40 man). 

They could go with 5 OF and just 4 guys who can play 2B/SS/3B I guess (Goins was a SS in the minors) but I'd prefer 4 OF and 5 middle IF/3B.
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 09:51 AM EST (#280961) #
Idiocy is a bit harsh.  The criteria for admission to the Hall of Fame allow for consideration of factors other than who was the best player.  So, Don Drysdale is in and Jack Morris has come close to getting in, in part because they were both famous, while better pitchers like Rick Reuschel and Dave Stieb are out because they were not.

And as for the PED issue and (say) Jeff Bagwell, there is very weak circumstantial evidence that he, more than another player of the time, might have used given the team he played for and the sudden and unexpected explosion of power that he hadn't had before.  It wouldn't be enough that he did use on any standard of proof, but for the purpose of deciding whether to confer an honour, I wouldn't characterize a voter's decision to take that into account as "idiocy".  Particularly given the vague criteria for Hall admission.  As I said, I would put an X beside Bagwell's name.

Leaving aside the PED issue (and hence Bonds and Clemens), there is really one player that a voter has to put an X beside and that is Greg Maddux.  BBRef's career WAR list has Maddux nicely tucked in between Frank Robinson and Mike Schmidt.  Among retired pitchers, he slots in between Christy Mathewson and Tom Seaver.  That is about right.  Among the rest, there are just so many good choices.  Take the next group of pitchers- Schilling, Glavine and Mussina.  They were all considerably better than Jim Palmer, Don Drysdale, Don Sutton, Early Wynn, Red Ruffing.  If you believe the WAR calculations, they were as valuable to their clubs over their careers (though obviously not at the peak) as Frank Thomas or Jeff Bagwell. Not to mention that Schilling was famous and was also a beast in the post-season (which is not factored into WAR calculations). 

Mike Green - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 10:10 AM EST (#280962) #
Checking it, WAR (either fangraphs or BBRef) says that Schilling was more valuable at his peak to his clubs than Frank Thomas.  I wouldn't have thought that possible, but Thomas gets docked a significant amount for his failings with the glove, and to a lesser degree on the bases.  Thomas was indeed a poor fielder at first base during his offensive prime. 
Ryan Day - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 11:00 AM EST (#280963) #
Pillar I figure is fighting for that 4th OF job/RH DH role with Sierra (replacing Davis). Gose being a LH hitter will not be part of the RH DH battle and thus could find himself in AAA due to the numbers game.

That will depend partly on whether the Jays think Pillar can back up centre effectively. He's played there a bit in the minors, and looked like a pretty decent OF last year, so maybe?

I guess the other question is how well Cabrera and, to a lesser extent, Bautista, recover. Melky was a wreck last year, and needed both time off and regular defensive replacements. If he's healthier & stronger defensively, maybe that adjusts your backup outfield needs.
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 11:39 AM EST (#280964) #
The odds that Cabrera and Bautista are healthy, and are good for 140-150 games each in the outfield, seem to me to be low.  If you get 120 games in the outfield from each and some DH time, that would be good.  Pillar in left and Cabrera DHing with a LHP on the mound will probably result in better offence and defence not to mention being easier on Cabrera, but the temptation to put Lind in there full time will probably be too much for Gibbons at some point in the season.
Landomar - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 01:01 PM EST (#280965) #
Perhaps we could trade Buerhle for Howie Kendrick. That would save us some money, and plug our hole at 2B.
92-93 - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 01:14 PM EST (#280966) #
I continue to not understand why AA didn't trade Rajai Davis, and why he isn't being talked about for a return when he fits the team's needs perfectly.
greenfrog - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 01:19 PM EST (#280967) #
I might trade Buehrle for Kendrick and Conger, straight up.

The more I think about it, the more I'm annoyed that the Jays didn't bid on McCann. Signing him would improved the team's offence and defence, while forcing the Yankees and Red Sox to go with a lesser player at C. The price wasn't that steep, the years were within AA's parameters, and the team's window is supposedly 2014/15.

It's frustrating watching the organization pass on prime free agents (Darvish, Soler, Cespedes, McCann), leaving them instead with the likes of Rogers, Sierra, Cabrera, and Arencibia.
lexomatic - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 01:27 PM EST (#280968) #
Every time I try responding to a post directly I get kicked back to the home page. 2nd time in a row. Anybody else have this happening?

92-93 re Rajai Davis, I think the reason he isn't talked about is because he sees himself as more than a 4th OF, and wants to either get a contract that will get him more playing time, or more dollars than he'd get here.

I doubt Conger is available. I'd consider Buehrle for Kendrick and Ianetta. Ultimately that depends on how else the rotation shapes up. That would be a huge boost to the offense, but would make the pitching very unstable.
I really don't think there was ever a chance that McCann was coming here. I'm sure AA checked, but who knows if there was anything of substance, or if there was some room to negotiate. It's not an option now, and I for one prefer trying to find solutions that are currently available instead of being upset about what can't be changed.
That said, maybe the Yankees will be cutting some of their many AAAA catchers. Surely one is at least comparable to JPA?
China fan - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 01:30 PM EST (#280969) #
"....the temptation to put Lind in there full time will probably be too much for Gibbons at some point in the season...."

Lind hasn't played a single inning in the outfield since 2010. Even in 2010, he played 90% of his games at DH. Since 2010, he has become slower and less healthy, and even less suited for the outfield. Nothing is guaranteed, but I think it's extremely improbable that Lind will play even a game in the OF in 2014.
China fan - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 01:36 PM EST (#280970) #
"...Every time I try responding to a post directly I get kicked back to the home page. 2nd time in a row. Anybody else have this happening?..."

Yes, I've had similar problems sporadically for the past week or two. Can the technical people have a look at it? It happens when I press "submit comment" after generating a preview -- the post disappears and doesn't get posted.
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 01:37 PM EST (#280971) #
CF, the issue was not Lind playing the OF but getting at-bats as DH against LHP.  Perhaps you have forgotten that this discussion has been ongoing for a number of years.
Chuck - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 01:38 PM EST (#280972) #

I think it's extremely improbable that Lind will play even a game in the OF in 2014.

I am presuming that Mike was suggesting that the risk is that Lind would once again find himself in the lineup fulltime, not in the outfield. If Lind is DHing against LHP, then Cabrera would be in LF and Pillar (or whomever) on the bench.

Chuck - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 01:40 PM EST (#280973) #
Or I can just let Mike speak for himself.
Chuck - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 01:44 PM EST (#280974) #
Every time I try responding to a post directly I get kicked back to the home page.

I have also been experiencing this when clicking on the "Reply to this" hotlink, but not when pressing the "Reply" button. And it doesn't seem to be browser-related (it happens in both Chrome and IE).

China fan - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 01:47 PM EST (#280975) #
"....It's frustrating watching the organization pass on prime free agents..."

I honestly don't think the organization is "passing" on prime free agents. I think the organization finds it difficult to persuade prime free agents to come to a foreign country, to accept the unknowns of border crossings etc, and to play in a hitter's park (for the pitching free-agents) or patrol the field on unhealthy artificial turf (for the position players).

Consider the evidence: the Jays have accepted very large salary commitments for Reyes and Buehrle, so they're not averse to high salaries. We know they made concerted efforts to sign some prime free agents (Carlos Beltran and Anibal Sanchez) and they tried to trade for the high-priced Jake Peavy. We know the owners can afford it. So why would the Jays deliberately "pass" on prime free agents? I think the more likely explanation is that the Jays have tried to acquire these kinds of guys, but they've been unable to outbid the wealthiest teams (Yankees, Rangers etc) and they've been unable to persuade some key free agents to take a gamble on a foreign country and a less-than-ideal ballpark.

It's not as simple as taking out your cheque-book and slapping down some money on the table. That's why the Jays have preferred the trade market.
China fan - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 01:49 PM EST (#280976) #
Mike, thanks for the clarification on Lind. Your post was slightly unclear in its wording. Now I understand your point.
John Northey - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 02:01 PM EST (#280977) #
FYI: the reply isn't working due to the & or the $ symbol being in the title.  Weird I know, but a quirk of the software being used to make Batter's Box work.  Someday when the software is updated that'll stop but it is hard to say when that'll be.
Ryan Day - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 02:11 PM EST (#280978) #
Last I read, Davis was looking for a full-time job. I don't know if he'll find one, but the Jays probably don't want to wait for him to make up his mind.

If I were AA, I'd tell Davis we'd love to have him back, and offer a one or two year deal at a reasonable price, but it's only going to be available until December 15th.
92-93 - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 02:18 PM EST (#280979) #
If they knew Davis wasn't coming back on a part time role AA should've accepted whatever he could get for him in July/August.
greenfrog - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 02:22 PM EST (#280980) #
China Fan, in the case of the IFAs like Darvish, Soler, Cespedes, Puig, Iwakuma and others, it was pretty much all about who was willing to pay the most. Darvish basically had to go to the highest bidder. However, the Jays decided not to compete for those players (although they did make not-insignificant bids on cheaper IFAs like Hechavarria and Osuna before te new CBA kicked in).
Chuck - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 02:25 PM EST (#280981) #

Last I read, Davis was looking for a full-time job.

My prediction is that he becomes a Met on a 2/10 deal (after the Mets fail to land anyone of note) that will offer him the opportunity to vie for fulltime play in a sea of stinky outfield candidates. I can't imagine anyone categorically giving him a starter's job, not with a career line vs RHP of 255/297/353.

Hodgie - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 02:36 PM EST (#280982) #
Idiocy is a harsh term and in my defense I submit two words, Jim Rice.

In all seriousness though, my mistake was not expanding my condemnation to the Hall of Fame itself. Rob Neyer has a piece here that pretty much details my issues with the process, those responsible for its definition as well as its execution, and the current state of the ballot.

Wildrose - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 02:40 PM EST (#280983) #
Thanks John, no more dollar signs then.

Just absolutely weird though....

Gerry - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 02:47 PM EST (#280984) #

I changed the title to take out the dollar sign and the ampersand, see if that helps. 


I will probably wait until Monday to start a new thread, it should get quiet for a few days with the US Thanksgiving break.

Wildrose - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 03:05 PM EST (#280985) #
China Fan, in the case of the IFAs like Darvish, Soler, Cespedes, Puig, Iwakuma and others, it was pretty much all about who was willing to pay the most. Darvish basically had to go to the highest bidder. However, the Jays decided not to compete for those players (although they did make not-insignificant bids on cheaper IFAs like Hechavarria and Osuna before te new CBA kicked in).

I agree. If I was ever in a room with AA and he'd answer a question honestly, I'd ask him why he didn't pursue these guys?

I think though as fans we need to remember we only have a small amount of the big picture given to us. I mean just a few days ago I'm flaying Rogers for lacking a plan moving forward regarding it's sports properties and the new CEO taking over,  and then shortly later, they sign a massive on-going NHL deal that probably should end all such talk.

It wouldn't surprise me if the finances weren't in place to make such a bold move. Remember Keith Pelley , who seems to be the main driver behind all these sports convergence synergies was still relatively new to his job and perhaps the board wasn't ready to make such a commitment. This was the time of " payroll parameters " as stated by Beeston. Hopefully some day we'll know?

China fan - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 03:07 PM EST (#280986) #
" the case of the IFAs like Darvish, Soler, Cespedes, Puig, Iwakuma and others, it was pretty much all about who was willing to pay the most..."

That's a fair point, although I'm still not sure if the Jays could outbid the Rangers or a team like that. But my comments were really directed at the notion (often heard here) that the Jays could simply haul out the cheque-book to acquire a McCann or a Garza, just like shopping at a grocery store. It's a lot more complicated than that.
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 03:49 PM EST (#280987) #
Like the new headline, but "Fielder, Kinsler and Dollars" does sound like the start of a Borscht Belt joke about a law firm. 
greenfrog - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 04:13 PM EST (#280988) #
The combination of weak drafts and missing out on the pre-CBA wave of quality IFAs has been pretty devastating for the Jays.
Ryan Day - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 04:35 PM EST (#280989) #
That's a fair point, although I'm still not sure if the Jays could outbid the Rangers or a team like that.

It wasn't really about outbidding. The Rangers paid $50 million for Darvish's rights, then another $60 to sign him for 6 years. They Jays paid $45 million just for 3 years of Mark Buehrle.

Ditto Puig, who signed for $42 million over 7 years. If he's half as good as he showed this year, that's a hell of a deal.

In both of these cases, the problem isn't that the Jays couldn't afford the player - it's that they didn't put a high enough value on the player.
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 04:37 PM EST (#280990) #
Hodgie, Neyer suggests that the biggest problem with the Hall is what to do about steroids. He suggests that there is a majority view about what to do about them.  On that, I think that he is dead wrong.  Among players, mainstream writers, non-mainstream writers and about anyone else, there is a continuum of views ranging from "steroid use or non-use is utterly irrelevant to the issue" to "no one who used PEDs at any time regardless whether it was against the rules at the time and regardless whether it  was proven ought to be in the Hall of Fame".  It may be that those views change with time, but the direction in which way history bends is entirely unclear.  Certainly among the players there has been much more vocal opposition to their use over the last decade.

And as for Jim Rice, can we just say that the voters made a mistake?  "The wisdom of crowds" theory does have a few pieces of evidence against it, and this is (shall we say) not the most damning.
John Northey - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 04:40 PM EST (#280991) #
I don't know about the drafts since 2010 being weak as it is still too early to judge.  Just 12 of the 50 players drafted in the first round of 2010 have reached the majors and only one has 10+ WAR so far (Chris Sale, 2 picks after McGuire...sigh).  The Jays picked 11th and 5 guys picked before McGuire (50%) haven't reached yet either.  It is very hard to judge drafts until at least 5 years have passed as by then you have a pretty good idea of who will/will not make it to the majors at least.
Thomas - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 05:11 PM EST (#280993) #

I made that point regarding IFAs repeatedly during the lead-up to the Darvish bidding process (and Iím sure I wasnít the only one who was). Darvish was not a case of having to compete against 29 other teams in a negotiating process and persuade an individual to come play in Toronto. It was a case of submitting a blind bid and then, upon being named the winning bidder, being the only team that Darvish could play for if he wanted to play in the majors. That is a huge competitive advantage for a team like Toronto, where they are not dealing with players who may have zero interest in playing here or using the Jays to extract a better offer from a more favourable destination.


I continue to fail to understand AAís decision not to submit a higher bid on Darvish. If he was hamstrung by financial constraints, he certainly didnít suggest that in all of his talk during the lead-up to and the bidding process where he spoke about how interested in Darvish the Jays were. If he misevaluated Darvishís talents, thatís an equally big failure given the number of times the Jays are reported to have seen Darvish pitch and the other material available on him. While 29 other teams also didnít bid as high as Texas did, not all of them had such a clear need for pitching or the payroll space (presumably) to make a high bid.


Regardless, whatís done is done.

China fan - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 05:44 PM EST (#280994) #
On Darvish, let's acknowledge that 20-20 hindsight is making it easy for us now to second-guess the Jays decision. The reality is that Darvish was far from a sure thing. Look at the flameout by Dice-K after a couple of good seasons. It's easy to say that the Jays should have coughed up a huge $110-million commitment on an unproven player. I don't find it so surprising that the bidding was won by a team with deeper pockets.
92-93 - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 06:20 PM EST (#280995) #
"It's not as simple as taking out your cheque-book and slapping down some money on the table. That's why the Jays have preferred the trade market."

If you believe that FAs for the most part are chasing the largest offer, as I do, then it becomes obvious that a team that is willing to part with assets for FAs a year after they sign would be better off just overpaying them to come to Canada in the first place.

The Jays acquired Dickey only a few days after Sanchez signed with the Tigers. I can't help but wonder how much extra it would have taken to bring Anibal north, and whether that would've meant the Jays held on to d'Arnaud & Syndergaard. If it was something like 5/90 they may have been better off going down that road; they'd have a solution at catcher and more prospect depth from which the rotation (and 2B) could be improved.
Hodgie - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 06:36 PM EST (#280996) #
I didn't come away with quite the same conclusions as you did Mike, which doesn't mean you are wrong of course. I took his premise to be that PEDs are one of the issues most responsible for the current state of the ballot and by extension the process today and I would find that hard to argue against.

I threw out Rice's name because it was low hanging fruit from the not so distant past. I view it as a mistake in the same vein as robbing a bank is a mistake. A conscious decision was made to elect a person after 15 years of fluctuating support on the ballot in what now looks like a protest against the "stats zealot" as SABR bff Murray Chass would call them. The same thing appears to be happening with Morris. I find such attitudes hard to excuse.

greenfrog - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 06:58 PM EST (#280997) #
It's true that Darvish wasn't a sure thing (and he could still break down in the next year or two), but the reports on him were generally very favourable.

If we're acknowledging that Darvish carried some risks, we should also acknowledge that a range of teams have pursued the big-name IFAs. The A's have a much smaller budget than that of the Jays, but went after Cespedes aggressively and signed him to a creative contract.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 07:23 PM EST (#280998) #
Twins sign Ricky Nolasco, no details as yet.
greenfrog - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 07:34 PM EST (#280999) #
Damn Twinkies.

This is purely speculative, but Nolasco might have wanted to steer clear of the RC and the AL East generally.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 07:37 PM EST (#281000) #
A.A. is so heavily into the Trade Market (his deals wait for Free Agent to sign), his Plan B might have no one left to sign.
Eephus - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 07:48 PM EST (#281001) #
Damn Twinkies.

Assuming he doesn't cost 15 million a season, I too thought Nolasco would've been a solid addition.

You know, Bartolo Colon (I know, I know) is starting to look pretty good...

greenfrog - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 07:51 PM EST (#281002) #
No Nolasco = nolo contendere? I don't think so. But he might have been a useful addition. On the other hand, he might have had a tough time in the AL East.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 08:40 PM EST (#281003) #
That Cubs' pitcher everyone is sniffing after, is mentioned in a post on MLB Trade Rumors site. After reading it, I understand the interest.
John Northey - Wednesday, November 27 2013 @ 10:47 PM EST (#281005) #
Bartolo Colon is someone I think is worth a serious look. Odds are a 1 or 2 year deal would get him for $10 mil a year despite how good his last 3 years have been (ERA+ of 107-114-141).  His low K/9 (under 6 each of the past 2 years) is a concern, but his BB/9 being at 1.4 both years is a solid plus.  His FIP has been sub-4 all 3 years as well.  He'd be a good short term solution that wouldn't break the bank while keeping options open for the kids.  Yeah, PED PED PED but if caught again you aren't out a cent and we saw Toronto fans didn't react much to Cabrera last year.
katman - Thursday, November 28 2013 @ 02:08 AM EST (#281006) #
I'm settling into a fairly set preference for "Sign Navarro ASAP (C), then Colon (SP)."

The other guy I'd consider very seriously, based on 2nd half performance, is Kazmir. I think his upside is notably higher than a Stroman, Nolin, Drabek, Hutch, Redmond. But I'd want one of the 2 pitchers signed quickly. Both should be reasonable. Once we have 1, it's a bit of a sigh of relief. Not the endgame, but eases everyone's mind.

If there's a catcher trade deal out there, it isn't going to get any better as the remaining weak candidates are picked off in Free Agency. Fix that real soon, or it might not be fixable, and the team can't contend if it isn't fixed. I know Navarro isn't ideal defensively, and yes, his bat will come back to earth a bit, but his last 3 years have all been decent. I respect the concept of guys like Suzuki, but can this team really carry 2-3 sucking offensive holes again (2B, C, +1 if Reyes or Lawrie gets hurt)?

I'd also sign SF's just-released Monell to a minor league deal. Decent AAA line, and we need that, we're too depleted.

As for 2B, if we have Navarro I can live with Goins even at JMac levels. If a trade comes up for 2B (hello, Reds?) then of course we look at it seriously. Ellis would be Plan B (optional, depending).

After that, for me it comes down to: all in on Tanaka, or press on Ubaldo? Yanks & Rangers make Tanaka a dangerous pursuit, and I do worry about the 160-pitch games. But we do need an impact pitcher, and I'm not sure I see one anywhere else. Looking at the flip side, if we had to, though, I could live with SP: Dickey, Ubaldo, Buerhle, Morrow, Kazmir. Has the potential to become very solid throughout, no 20-gamers of league leaders, but guys who make your hitting life difficult every single game: 3-4 guys with wouldn't shock me shots at 15 games and everyone with good shots at 12+.

Might as well go all in. Otherwise, just start selling already, because the current set isn't going to get it done.
ComebyDeanChance - Thursday, November 28 2013 @ 08:33 AM EST (#281007) #
regardless whether it was against the rules at the time

At what relevant time was possession of anabolic steroids not a felony offence? The suggestion that baseball's rules somehow contemplated and permitted the commission of a felony is likely the weakest pro-PED argument there is.

Not a single one of these guys stood up and said "Hey, I didn't think steroids were against the rules of baseball. I thought it was ok to use steroids so I did" . That's a simple thing to say and not a single player that's being discussed, has ever said that. Instead, every one told lies to everyone that would listen.
John Northey - Thursday, November 28 2013 @ 08:48 AM EST (#281008) #
katman - I'd love the Jays to go all-in but realistically I'd be surprised if they add more than $20 mil to the payroll at this point.  With that as a limit then Colon and Navarro might work.  I also feel, if they think Tanaka is the real deal, then they should be all-in on him too or at least very serious with a bid of $55 mil or something over the old record ($51.7 mil) for Darvish but not drastically so as he isn't viewed as being as high potential as Darvish.  I wouldn't be shocked if someone goes stupid with it due to the new rules though (average of the two highest bids rather than just the highest).  Actually, that could be an incentive for giving a strong offer as, if you outbid everyone you don't pay all of it but if you are outbid you ensure a high payment for whoever does win.
Richard S.S. - Thursday, November 28 2013 @ 10:21 AM EST (#281009) #
Given that chances are extremely remote that R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle or Brandon Morrow are traded.

Given that Javier Lopez (LHP, 36) signed 3 years, $13.0 MM; Joe Smith (RHP, 29) signed 3 years, $15.75 MM; Manny Parra ((LHP, 31) signed 2 years, $5.5 MM.

Other than the three Starters mentioned above, all other non-Minor Pitchers should be considered relievers. I think we need a new Post. What is the value of our Relievers? Why? It's going up!
Ryan Day - Thursday, November 28 2013 @ 10:26 AM EST (#281010) #
On Darvish, let's acknowledge that 20-20 hindsight is making it easy for us now to second-guess the Jays decision. The reality is that Darvish was far from a sure thing

Right, but you're never going to get a "sure thing", if there is such a thing, for what the Rangers paid for Darvish. The sure-thing, established MLB star players are the ones that almost always go to the highest bidders. Just look at what someone like Greinke cost on the open market.

Yes, it's easy to second-guess the Jays' decision, but you can also argue that the Rangers got it right. Maybe they got a little lucky, but maybe they had the best scouting & analysis on Darvish. And that was what AA promised when he took over: To get the best scouts, and do the most thorough scouting.
Beyonder - Thursday, November 28 2013 @ 10:33 AM EST (#281011) #
Hadn't realised that was what was being proposed until you posted it John. If MLB has really proposed an averaging of the top two posting offers as a way of reducing the posting costs, they haven't read up on their game theory. As you say, this encourages higher offers.

A team intending to make a posting bid under the new system would know two things: 1) If I win the posting, I will end up paying something less than my total bid. So rather than bid what I am actually prepared to pay, I should bid something more, knowing that I will ultimately get a discount if succesful; and 2) If I lose, no harm is done, and at worst, I have increased the amount of the posting fee paid by the winner of the auction.

There is a simple solution to the problem that wouldn't involve the Japanese league at all -- make the posting fee count towards the luxury tax in some manner.

BTW, this really makes me think that there must have been an enormous gap between Texas's winning offer and the next best offer in the Yu Darvish sweepstakes. Otherwise it wouldn't make any sense at all to spend so much time arguing for this type of averaging.
China fan - Thursday, November 28 2013 @ 10:35 AM EST (#281012) #
Valid point on scouting, Ryan Day. I'm not sure if AA promised the "best" scouts in the majors, but he promised better scouting and it hasn't always been better. You're right that the Rangers had a more accurate assessment of Darvish than other teams, including the Jays. (And the trading of Yan Gomes also suggests that the Jays scouting department has flaws in it.) Still, I really believe that the main factor in the non-signing of Darvish was the $110-million, not the scouting assessments. The Jays are just not at the point where they can hand out $110-million contracts as easily as a few other organizations can. Maybe in a year or two they will be.
China fan - Thursday, November 28 2013 @ 10:36 AM EST (#281013) #
And yes, I realize that the $110-million wasn't the "contract" per se, since half of it went to Japan, but $110-million was the total cost to the club.
Beyonder - Thursday, November 28 2013 @ 10:43 AM EST (#281014) #
One other important piece of context is that at the time of the Darvish posting, the most recent comparable was Daisuke Matsuzaka. His struggles no doubt tempered some of the enthusiasm for Darvish, or at least added to the perceived riskiness of signing Darvish.

Can't forget the recency factor, which of course work both ways -- Tanaka is no doubt riding on the crest of Darvish's success. Even though from what I am hearing he is nowhere near Darvish in terms of his raw stuff, Tanaka will almost certainly get a similar (or richer) deal.
92-93 - Thursday, November 28 2013 @ 10:58 AM EST (#281015) #
"The Jays are just not at the point where they can hand out $110-million contracts as easily as a few other organizations can."

Nonsense. It's amazing how the Jays front office has conditioned fans to think this is a reality. The freaking Minnesota Twins just led the market on Ricky Nolasco's services, but the Blue Jays have to acquire their talent through trade using top prospects.
Ryan Day - Thursday, November 28 2013 @ 11:31 AM EST (#281016) #
Texas only spent $10 million more than the Jays in 2013; they're hardly a mega-payroll-monster like the Yankees or Dodgers. It's probably safe to say spending $110 million on a bust would be just as bad for them as it would for the Jays.
Ryan Day - Thursday, November 28 2013 @ 12:00 PM EST (#281017) #
the most recent comparable was Daisuke Matsuzaka

Yeah, but so what? "That other Japanese guy didn't do so well" isn't particularly meaningful without discussing their stuff, their delivery, and everything else scouts look at. Hamilton & Pujols were big budget busts last year, but someone is still going to give Cano an insane amount of money this year.

It's probably worth noting that while, yes, Matsuzaka was the most high profile recent example, Hiroki Kuroda made a very successful transition to MLB in between the two.

Also: Matsuzaka was pretty good before he got hurt. The problem wasn't that he couldn't get MLB hitters out, it's that he broke down after a two seasons - a fate which could easily befall any MLB free agent.
SK in NJ - Thursday, November 28 2013 @ 12:04 PM EST (#281018) #
Exactly. It's almost comical how the Jays had a top 10 payroll in baseball this season (it will only grow in 2014), and play in one of the largest markets in North America, with a wealthy ownership group, and yet people still want to act like the Jays can't spend money if they wanted to.

The Jays can sign free agents. Ash did. Ricciardi did. Players want to get paid, either in dollars, years, or both. They wouldn't mind a player option or opt-out or NTC thrown in either. If you want a free agent bad enough, it is a fairly straight forward process. Some players might say they don't want to play in Canada, but I'd imagine that's not how the majority of players feel. Pay them, and they will sign.

The Jays strategically plan on trading prospects for MLB players, IMO, because the contracts of the players they are getting back are already fixed. No negotiation necessary. No bidding necessary. Years are already set in stone. Reyes had a 5 + 1 contract when acquired. That's not a coincidence. Beeston doesn't like contracts to exceed five years, and Reyes had only five guaranteed years when acquired. If that team option at the end of the deal was a guaranteed year, that Marlins trade never would have happened (at least not with Reyes involved). Now the Samardzija rumors are going to heat up because he will be cheap the next two seasons, and AA doesn't have to go out and sign Garza instead. He can just trade prospects for a cost effective two year option.

Whenever the Jays pass up on someone that does well somewhere else, there is always an excuse to justify it.
greenfrog - Thursday, November 28 2013 @ 12:42 PM EST (#281019) #
Trading prospects to upgrade your team can work out beautifully - look at the Latos deal. The nice thing about that trade was that the Reds acquired both quality and years of control (same with Washington and Gio).

Acquiring the Shark and other players nearing free agency would give the Jays a short-term boost, but could lead to a pretty brutal team in 2016. Also, sometimes the young players you trade quickly overtake the player(s) acquired in terms of overall value (Wil Myers, for example). In this sense, the Red Sox are looking pretty bright for not trading Bogaerts and JBJ for Reyes and JJ last off-season, which was apparently Miami's asking price.
Beyonder - Thursday, November 28 2013 @ 01:56 PM EST (#281020) #
It is tempting to assume that we are not swayed by these types of things, but the fact that "the other Japanese guy didn't do so well" was a big deal -- just as the fact that the last Japanese guy did well will be a big factor in what Tanaka signs for. As much as we have learned about (or at least like to talk about) sample sizes, a sample size of one can carry a lot of weight (I note that the previous big ticket import Hideki Irabu, was also a huge bust).

If you think the hype surrounding Matsuzaka's signing was any less than the Darvish hype, or that the scouting reports were any less favourable for Daisuke, that is highly contestable. I remember weeks of stories alone about Daisuke's mysterious "Gyroball".
Ryan Day - Thursday, November 28 2013 @ 01:56 PM EST (#281021) #
Reyes had a 5 + 1 contract when acquired. That's not a coincidence. Beeston doesn't like contracts to exceed five years, and Reyes had only five guaranteed years when acquired.

When you put it that way, it sounds completely insane. The problem with a 6-year deal isn't the length in and of itself - it's that the player is less likely to be worth the money at the end of the contract. The "benefit" of acquiring Reyes one year into his contract instead of just singing him for six years is that they missed out on his age 29 season, but will still be paying him when he's 35.

This five year rule gets more ridiculous the more you think about it.
Mike Green - Thursday, November 28 2013 @ 03:06 PM EST (#281022) #
The only comment I will make about the payroll issue is this.  The club's payroll was lower than justified by its market and real and imputed revenue (broadcast and live attendance) for many years.  The justification that you sometimes see for refusal to increase payroll that the club has already increased it does not make sense in this context.

As it stands now, deals have been made and the payroll figures to be within a reasonable range in the upper tier of MLB teams whatever moves are made during the off-season.  Ownership and management have to make a judgment about the value of payroll investments.  It sure would help if there was confidence that management would get good bang for the buck if they go cheap. 

John Northey - Thursday, November 28 2013 @ 03:10 PM EST (#281023) #
Well, if that is how the Jays looked at it then yes, that would be insane to skip the cheap year where production would be strongest.  I suspect though that the Jays went into it and got Reyes/Johnson/Buehrle just as the trade kept expanding as Miami wanted to cut costs and the Jays wanted to get as much talent as possible.  But I somehow doubt the Jays went 'woohoo, Miami signed Reyes to a 6 year deal so we now just wait a year and trade for him'.  Instead the Jays probably looked at it as '3 year window to contend, Reyes should be good for those 3 years and we'll live with the extra 2 as we need shortstop help now' as Escobar is one of those guys you weight skill vs clubhouse headache and Hechavaria was a no-hit all field SS.

I suspect the key element is timing. Last offseason the Jays had cash and saw opportunity as the Yankees looked beatable and the Red Sox appeared to be rebuilding while the O's seemed over their head and the Rays one figures have to have a year where things don't go well eventually as they are on a tightrope every year.  The offseason before that they didn't have the same cash available as the Red Sox & Yankees looked extremely strong while the Rays were contenders.

So what is the 2013/4 offseason like? Yankees look weak but have payroll room but have lost Rivera/Pettitte and have the A-Rod nightmare going on. Boston seems strong but often a quick climb is followed by a drop. Rays are same as always, likely to trade away some expensive talent to get more young talent, while the O's are hard to predict.  Cash should be available as the opportunity seems to be there still.
Richard S.S. - Thursday, November 28 2013 @ 05:07 PM EST (#281024) #
Last year if things went as initially planned, A.A. trades for Jake Peavy ( who signs a extension with Chicago) and signs Anibal Sanchez (who became to costly after the Miami deal exploded). Between outgoing salaries and the odds and ends signings (each team makes), and incoming salaries the payroll would be the pre-agreed $105.0 MM initially. That might have went much better because now they aren't picked to win it all. I can't imagine what last year would be like then.

I'm not worried about how much A.A. has to spend as even Management knows what he needs.
The Bullpen is so good I think you could form two quality Bullpens from those we have.
The Outfield will be fine despite any traded as I think Pillar, Sierra and/or Gose are adequate replacements.
The Infield is fine with Goins at 2B, he'll learn to hit or he won't. The only gaping holes here are Catcher and the Bench.

My only issue is how he evaluates what Starting Pitching is needed. Outgoing and incoming salaries could vary from $5.0 - $7.0 MM gain to a $3.0 - $5.0 MM loss. That means with $16.0 - $21.0 to spend, an acqusition could alter that to $11.0 - $28.0 MM left to spend. I think that's why A.A. prefers trades, controlling increases in Salary.
China fan - Thursday, November 28 2013 @ 05:23 PM EST (#281025) #
"...The Jays strategically plan on trading prospects for MLB players, IMO, because the contracts of the players they are getting back are already fixed..."

You're seriously suggesting that Anthopoulos doesn't like negotiating?
China fan - Thursday, November 28 2013 @ 05:37 PM EST (#281026) #
"...The freaking Minnesota Twins just led the market on Ricky Nolasco's services, but the Blue Jays have to acquire their talent through trade using top prospects..."

The Twins spent $49-million on Nolasco, which is $61-million less than the acquisition cost of Darvish, the player we were discussing. So the Nolasco contract is not very relevant to the issue.

The Jays, of course, have not shied away from large contracts, and I never suggested that they did. I said the opposite: the Jays assumed a very large financial burden to acquire Reyes ($91-million) and Buehrle ($45-million). So they're very able to spend money, and they've accepted bigger costs than the Ricky Nolasco contract when they wanted to do so.

Compared to the Darvish decision, the difference was that Reyes and Buehrle had long major-league records already, and their future performance could be reasonably predicted. For Darvish, the cost was much higher than Reyes or Buehrle, and his future performance could not be predicted as easily. The Jays traded prospects to the Marlins to save money (compared to Darvish) and to obtain greater predictability of performance. That was a reasonable decision at the time, even if Darvish now (in hindsight) looks like a better bargain.
greenfrog - Thursday, November 28 2013 @ 05:54 PM EST (#281027) #
One reason I favoured bidding aggressively on Darvish was his age (25), as he was just entering his prime. I supported the trade with Miami but it should be acknowledged that the players acquired were mostly past their prime. In terms of the typical career arc, Darvish had the advantage over Reyes and Buehrle in this respect.
Richard S.S. - Friday, November 29 2013 @ 01:32 AM EST (#281028) #
The Darvish decision in the 2011-2012 offseason was not A.A.'s finest decision, some nonsense about "not being ready to compete yet". But that's passed, it totally unconnected with any subsequent decisions, so let's leave it lie.

The 2012-2013 decision was more luck than brains. A.A. fell into that one because he asked them (Miami) first.

How anyone can find a relationship between either must believe wonderful things every day or is daft.
China fan - Friday, November 29 2013 @ 05:28 AM EST (#281029) #
On the subject of trading away prospects for veterans: it's interesting to see that Houston has left Carlos Perez unprotected for the Rule 5 draft. It's a reminder that a lot of prospects never pan out, and sometimes it's good to trade them while they still have value.

Alternative interpretation of Houston's decision to expose Perez: should the Jays claim him back??
China fan - Friday, November 29 2013 @ 05:36 AM EST (#281030) #
"....The Darvish decision in the 2011-2012 offseason was not A.A.'s finest decision, some nonsense about 'not being ready to compete yet'...."

Since you're attacking people as "daft" in this post and accusing people of "nonsense," could you explain why you decided to invent a quote from thin air? You claim that AA said the Jays were "not ready to compete yet" and this is why they didn't acquire Darvish. As you know perfectly well, nobody in the Jays ever said that. Nobody in the organization ever said they won't acquire someone because they're "not ready to compete yet." Yet you put those words in direct quotation marks, implying that you're quoting directly from a published source. That's rather daft, in my view.
Richard S.S. - Friday, November 29 2013 @ 07:36 AM EST (#281031) #
A.A. says an awful lot when you can check out a lot of websites and watch a fair bit of Rogers' programming (okay PVR it). Not going after Darvish and not signing Fielder was because if they did either, everyone would say they "were going for it", and they weren't ready to do do. I've always thought that was patent nonsense myself.

I apologize if you're offended. But comparing the decisions of the 2011-12 offseason with the decisions of the 2012-13 offseason is like comparing apples and pencils as being the same and that's daft.
Beyonder - Friday, November 29 2013 @ 09:46 AM EST (#281032) #
GB Shaw once made a reference to Richard SS's posts involving porcine wrestling -- I'd share it but I PVR'd it.
Parker - Friday, November 29 2013 @ 10:18 AM EST (#281033) #
The Bard himself had a fine quote regarding Richard's commentary as well - something about his disinterest with engaging in a battle of wits against an unarmed opponent, I believe?
James W - Friday, November 29 2013 @ 10:47 AM EST (#281034) #
Being less learned, I used an app on my personal computer to look up the comment. It was hilarious.
Ryan Day - Friday, November 29 2013 @ 10:57 AM EST (#281035) #
Alternative interpretation of Houston's decision to expose Perez: should the Jays claim [Perez] back??

Probably not - while I think he's still quite a good prospect, he also doesn't look MLB ready, and I can't imagine spending a year on the bench will do him a lot of good.

I'd guess this is part of Houson's decision not to protect him - catchers don't get picked very often, because they're tougher to hide away on your roster. No one's taken a catcher in the Rule 5 since 2008.
John Northey - Friday, November 29 2013 @ 12:22 PM EST (#281036) #
Good point on Carlos Perez.  There is an old rule - better to trade a year too early than a year too late.  Perez does look tempting though for a club like the Jays who are thin on catching.  He had a 798 OPS in 2012, 689 in 2013 mainly in AAA.  A 689 OPS for a catcher in Toronto would feel Piazza like after 2013.    Two conditions would be needed though... 1) he would have to be able to quickly learn how to catch knuckleballs  2) his defense would have to be viewed as strong or getting strong.  Heck, risk the $25k (you get $25k back of the $50k cost to draft if he is lost) and see if Houston would do a trade to allow him to be in AAA this year.  With the limited catching options here more depth is a good thing.
85bluejay - Friday, November 29 2013 @ 04:01 PM EST (#281038) #
Dayton Moore traded away the Royals future for a winning season (though not a contender) and gets rewarded with an extension - AA must be inspired
92-93 - Friday, November 29 2013 @ 05:03 PM EST (#281039) #
On September 11th, 2013 the Royals were 2 games back of the wild card. I'd love to see meaningful baseball like that in Toronto again. It'd be a step.
JB21 - Saturday, November 30 2013 @ 09:44 AM EST (#281040) #
It'd be a step.

Honestly though, one step forward for how many steps backwards? No thanks.
eudaimon - Saturday, November 30 2013 @ 05:11 PM EST (#281041) #
Interesting news from Rotoworld:

"Bill Center of the San Diego Union Tribune believes that the Padres will soon trade Robbie Erlin, Burch Smith or Eric Stults in exchange for a left-handed bat."

Adam Lind?

katman - Saturday, November 30 2013 @ 06:49 PM EST (#281042) #
Lind for one of the young Padre pitchers? I'd absolutely consider it. They just removed the hitting coach that helped Lind get back on track, and removing Lind gives us much more freedom to provide insurance vs. Cabrera. Or add a high-defense player like Loney. And, if 2014 blows up with AA trading away all of our future, it gives us a player to build with post fire-sale.

Need to go off and research these players, this is definitely the sort of thing you'd want to scout carefully.
whiterasta80 - Saturday, November 30 2013 @ 07:07 PM EST (#281043) #
Chase Headley and Stults for Lind and Sanchez with Lawrie moving to second?

I know people are reluctant to deal sanchez and Stro but chase had excellent on base skills, power and is positionally flexible (lf).
Switch hitter that the padres are rumored to not re-sign.

Stults fills a rotation spot but leaves us room to chase catching and another starter. Heck maybe we expand to include hundley.
smcs - Saturday, November 30 2013 @ 09:29 PM EST (#281044) #
Lawrie moving to second?

Please no more of this.
greenfrog - Saturday, November 30 2013 @ 10:06 PM EST (#281045) #
How about Headley 3B / Lawrie SS / Reyes 2B / EE 1B? OK, it's kind of a ridiculous idea, but if Lawrie could hold his own at SS, that could potentially be a great infield.
Richard S.S. - Sunday, December 01 2013 @ 01:41 AM EST (#281046) #
Let's see, Minnesota has signed Ricky Nolasco, Phil Hughes, working on Mike Pelfry and making profess on A.J. Pierzynski.

Now that may not be exciting, but another two useful Pitchers are removed from A.A.'s Plan B list. Waiting for something to happen gets boring. Do we wait for the Winter Meetings, or will this drag on into January?
JB21 - Sunday, December 01 2013 @ 07:48 AM EST (#281047) #
I'll take boring over that Hughes contract.
whiterasta80 - Sunday, December 01 2013 @ 09:53 AM EST (#281048) #
Second base is pretty easy to play passably, particularly for someone as athletic as Lawrie. It's not like we are asking it midseason this time.

I see no problem with it if the move allows us to add a piece as useful as headley. Of course if it doesn't work we stick chase in lf and rotate the dh.
electric carrot - Sunday, December 01 2013 @ 12:57 PM EST (#281049) #
Second base is pretty easy to play passably, particularly for someone as athletic as Lawrie.

Ummm .... not sure I agree.  I'm with the idea of leaving Laurie at 3rd.  I think we've seen again and again with this team (Encarnacion, Bautista, Lind, Izturis and Laurie himself) that once they play a position they find more demanding their offense suffers and so does the defense.  Laurie is great at 3rd.  HIs hitting needs to improve.  Let's let him focus on that next year.
Richard S.S. - Sunday, December 01 2013 @ 10:33 PM EST (#281050) #
There are several types of Second Baseman:

Second Baseman are born, not taught. Everyone else is just not as good. Unfortunately only a few show up each generation.

Second Baseman start very young at playing the position and turn out very good indeed.

Short Stops who can no longer play the position are moved to Second Base. While they might become good Second Baseman, they will never be a good there as they were at Short.

Brett Lawrie is none of these, but is an excellent Third Baseman.

So the latest less than intelligent idea is to put Lawrie at a position he might become average at so someone else can be average at third just to increase overall offense. Wow! Lawrie gives All-Star defense at Third base. He makes Jose Reyes better defensively.

Small sampled be damned, you can either handle the position or you can't. Ryan Goins from the very first play at Second gave very good defense on artificial turf. Emilio Bonifacio couldn't. Maicer Izturis has issues. It's been a very long time since anyone gave that good a defense.

It's taking a long time for anything to happen. Try to suggesting something that makes the team BETTER.
Chuck - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 09:26 AM EST (#281054) #
Show me an elite major league second baseman and I'll show you the star shortstop of his high school team.
Hodgie - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 01:58 PM EST (#281096) #
"Second Baseman are born..."

You are correct only in that the list of unborn second basemen currently in MLB is pretty small.

whiterasta80 - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 04:22 PM EST (#281121) #
Actually at the major league level the Jays have had good success with some of their draftees switching over to 2B under various circumstances.

Aaron Hill played SS in the minors but came up as a 3B (replacing Corey Koskie). Eventually he transitioned to 2B, but this was largely at the major league level. In contrast to him Lawrie has 250 games of experience at the position already.

Jeff Kent also started as a 3B for us before moving to the Mets as a 2B in 1992. He did have some experience at 2B in the minors but about 250 games- similar to Lawrie.

Orlando Hudson actually had a few minor league seasons as a 3B before transitioning to 2B full time. Even still he only had about 300 games of experience at 2B in the minors.

I just don't think that Lawrie has ever really proven that he can't play 2B. Because of this I don't think you can summarily dismiss the idea of moving him if it makes the overall team better.
Richard S.S. - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 06:13 PM EST (#281127) #
Oh, I think Roberto Alomar was a born Second Baseman. You don't get to be that good if you weren't to be one from day one.

You consider Aaron Hill a better 2B than SS? I don't.
Jeff Kent worked hard at his defense all his career. He just had a an easier time hitting.
Orlando Hudson was a success, but I don't think you can compare both, who could tell us?

The knock on Brett Lawrie at the time he was acquired was great ability, great talent, great bat, but didn't have a position. The Second Base experient this year ended very quickly, with everyone saying "never again"?
I firmly believe that regardless of your other reasonable moves, Brett Lawrie at Second Base does not make this Team better.
whiterasta80 - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 08:01 PM EST (#281132) #
So Evan Longoria at third with Lawrie moving to second doesn't make us better? You wouldn't add miguel Cabrera if it was conditional on him playing third? I can't stand absolutism in stuff like this. I also see no reason why Lawrie couldn't work on it ala Kent if it meant team improvement such as the above or my Headley example.
Richard S.S. - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 09:35 PM EST (#281138) #
This offseason has always been about Starting Pitching, Starting Pitching, Defense, Defense, Defense and doing something about Arencibia. As ineffectual as the Offense was at times last year, it wasn't the problem.

I believe Lawrie is a better defender at Third Base than Evan Longoria. I know that blindfolded Lawrie is a much better defender than Miguel Cabrera (even as hard as he tries). It's possible neither Longoria or Cabrerea can cover for Reyes as Lawrie can.

As long as Lawrie plays 3B, Reyes will stay at SS, he makes Reyes better defensively.
Original Ryan - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 11:41 PM EST (#281144) #
Some facts to dispel this notion that second baseman are "born":

- The last four players to win Gold Gloves at second base (Pedroia, Phillips, Cano and Barney) are all former shortstops, either in the minors or at the amateur level.
- In 2011, 15 of the 23 players to play at least 90 games at second base were former shortstops (I looked into this a while ago so I haven't checked 2012 or 2013, but I assume the numbers are similar).
- Teams disproportionately draft shortstops. In 2013 teams drafted 122 shortstops, as opposed to only 43 second basemen. In 2012 it was 135 SS and 38 2B, and in 2011 it was 135 SS and 56 2B. A significant number of those shortstops would have been moved to second base after signing.
- Ryan Goins was primarily a shortstop while in the minors, and didn't play second base until 2012. During his minor league career, he played 478 games at shortstop and just 32 at second base.

Roberto Alomar played shortstop in the minors. I assume he was a shortstop as an amateur, as amateur second basemen rarely make the the move over to shortstop once they start playing professionally.

In other words, the most common way to develop an elite-level second baseman is to draft/sign shortstops. The idea that the best second basemen were always second basemen is silly and unsupportable.
Parker - Thursday, December 05 2013 @ 07:35 PM EST (#281273) #
It's no more silly or less supportable than any other statement made by Richard S.S.

Good on you for doing the legwork to provide this analysis though, despite the fact that the person most in need of education in this department seem to listen only to the voices in his own head, and possibly Drunk Jays Fans.
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